Michael J. Tyler
with the assistance of the Editorial Advisory Committee
Wildlife Australia, April 1997
ISBN 0 642 21400 X
Recovery Outline No. 14: White-bellied Frog
2. Scientific Name
3. English Name
4. Intraspecific taxa:
5. Species survival status
Endangered. This recently described species has an extremely restricted distribution, only a small part of which has been added to the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Land clearance could lead to extinction.
6. Former distribution
Presumed to be more extensive prior to land clearance. Wardell-Johnson and Roberts (1991) estimate that the distribution of the species has been reduced by 70%.
7. Current distribution
Occurs within restricted habitat in an area slightly more than 100 km2 in the Witchcliffe-Karridale district of the extreme south west of WA.
Confined to riparian vegetation in a high rainfall area.
9. Reasons for decline
Although the species has not been found in all areas where apparently "suitable" habitat exists, it is assumed that post-colonial land clearance has significantly reduced the range of the species.
10. Conservation reserves on which species occurs
WA: Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
11. Other public lands on which species occurs
WA: Forest Grove and Witchcliffe State Forests. 18% of the species' geographic range is estimated to be on public land.
12. Other lands on which species occurs
The greater portion of the geographic range of the species is on privately owned land (Wardell-Johnson and Roberts 1991).
13. Is knowledge about species adequate for objectives and actions to be defined accurately?
Yes. Although it is unclear why the distribution of the species within "suitable" habitat is patchy, the fundamental criteria for survival are well understood.
14. Recovery Plan objectives
14.1. To downlist the species to vulnerable within ten years by protecting existing populations and, if necessary, establishing additional populations
15. Management actions completed or under way
15.1. A draft recovery plan produced by the WA Department of Conservation and Land Management (Majors et al. 1991) with Endangered Species Program support, has been updated and published (Wardell-Johnson et al. 1995). Implementation by a recovery team has proceeded since 1992 as follows:
15.2. Survey of riparian habitat. This has been completed in both private and public land.
15.3. Land tenure management. All major land disturbances have been deferred in State Forest where the species occurs, pending the conclusion of research provided for in the recovery plan. The Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park has been extended to include the former Boranup State Forest where the frog occurs.
15.4. Fire research and management. Fire in public lands will be excluded, or restricted to cool early spring burns, as research and fire history indicate that such fires do not have a major impact on frog populations. Hot summer or autumn fires, which do impact populations, will not be prescribed and will be controlled where practicable. Fire research is underway.
15.5. Habitat protection. Fencing of habitat on private property has been carried out to exclude stock. Further fencing will take place if owners agree.
15.6. Community participation. A 'Frog recovery kit' will be used to disseminate information about the species and the recovery plan to private land owners and the wider community. The kit includes a cassette tape of frog calls. Other communication methods are also being employed.
15.7. Population monitoring. Sites where the species occurs are monitored regularly.
15.8. Genetic studies. Twenty five populations have been sampled for allozyme electrophoresis. Data show very limited gene flow between populations.
15.9. Translocations. Melbourne Zoo is developing captive breeding protocols using the more widespread G. rosea as an analogue species.
16. Management actions required
16.1. Continuation of research and management actions prescribed in recovery plan..
16.2. Resolution of land tenure and management on completion of research.
17. Organisations responsible for conservation of species
WA Department of Conservation and Land Management.
18. Other organisations involved
University of Western Australia, Shire of Augusta - Margaret River, local landowners, Land Conservation District Committee representative, Melbourne Zoo.
19. Can recovery be carried out with existing resources?
A detailed budget prepared for the recovery plan (1995) anticipates expenditure over a period of ten years. The recovery plan is being implemented with Endangered Species Program funding.
Driscoll, D., Wardell-Johnson, G. and Roberts, J.D. 1994. Genetic structuring and distribution patterns in rare south-western Australian frogs: implications for translocation programs. pp 85-90 in Reintroduction Biology of Australian and New Zealand Fauna. Ed M. Serena, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, New South Wales.
Majors, C., Wardell-Johnson, G. and Roberts, J.D. 1991. Draft recovery plan for the orange-bellied (Geocrinia vitellina) and white-bellied (Geocrinia alba) frogs. Unpublished report to Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra, and Western Australia Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth.
Wardell-Johnson, G. and Roberts, J.D. 1991. The survival status of the Geocrinia rosea (Anura: Myobatrachidae) complex in riparian corridors: biogeographical implications. pp. 167-175 in Nature Conservation 2: the role of corridors. Eds D.A. Saunders and R.J. Hobbs, Surrey Beatty and Sons, Chipping Norton, New South Wales.
Wardell-Johnson, G., Roberts, J.D., Driscoll, D. and Williams, K. 1995. Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan. 2nd edition. Western Australia Wildlife Management Program No. 19. Department of Conservation and Land Management, Como.
Herpetological authorities consulted:
A. Burbidge, D. Driscoll, J.D. Roberts, G. Wardell-Johnson.