Michael J. Tyler
with the assistance of the Editorial Advisory Committee
Wildlife Australia, April 1997
ISBN 0 642 21400 X
Recovery Outline No. 4: Torrent Tree Frog
2. Scientific Name
3. English Name
Torrent Tree Frog, Waterfall Frog
4. Intraspecific taxa:
5. Species survival status
Endangered. Surveys during 1991 failed to locate the species at sites at higher elevations within the range where formerly it had been abundant.
6. Former distribution
Perennial coastal streams in Queensland between Cooktown and Townsville at an altitudinal range of 80-1300m. Previous studies had given no indication of a population decline (McDonald 1992, McDonald et al. 1991).
7. Current distribution
No declines have been observed in populations occurring below 400m but the species is now absent from most sites above this altitude. The declines at higher altitudes have been observed since 1990 throughout the north Queensland area managed by the Wet Tropics Management Authority (between Townsville and Cooktown). In some areas local extinctions have been recorded (Richards et al. 1993). A progressive (or assumed progressive) population decline at higher altitude rainforest sites between the Daintree River and the Bloomfield River was recorded in 1993 (Ingram and McDonald 1993, Trenerry et al. 1994), and extended further north in 1994 (McDonald pers. comm.).
Adjacent to fast flowing streams in rainforest at altitudes of 80-1300m.
9. Reasons for decline
Unknown. Richards et al. (1993) reject drought, floods, habitat destruction or pollution by pesticides, inorganic ions or heavy metals.
10. Conservation reserves on which species occurs
Qld: Cape Tribulation, Crater Lakes, Lumholtz, Crater, Millstream, Wooroonooran, Paluma Range, Cedar Bay, and Daintree National Parks.
11. Other public lands on which species occurs
Qld: Windsor Tableland, Kirrama Range, Maalan, Mt Lewis, Lamb Range, Mt Spec, Tully, and Mt Baldy State Forests, Daintree Timber Reserve (165 Monkhouse).
12. Other lands on which species occurs
13. Is knowledge about species adequate for objectives and actions to be defined accurately?
No. Only the most fundamental biological issues have been established.
14. Recovery Plan objectives
14.1. To secure existing populations of the species.
14.2. To determine the causal agent/s responsible for the decline of the species.
14.3. To reduce or eliminate threatening processes.
14.4. To increase the number of stable populations by expansion into the former range.
14.5. To ensure that frog conservation is considered in all relevant land management decisions.
15. Management actions completed or under way
15.1. This species, along with seven other Wet Tropics species, is the subject of a recovery program for threatened frogs of Qld and northern NSW (Coordinator: K.R. McDonald, Qld Department of Environment). The program involves survey, monitoring, ecological research and research into potential causes of decline.
15.2. A draft recovery plan has been prepared (Martin and McDonald 1995).
16. Management actions required
Actions outlined in the draft recovery plan include:
16.2. Research into causes of decline.
16.3. Ecological research.
16.4. Captive breeding.
16.5. Genetic studies.
16.6. Public information.
17. Organisations responsible for conservation of species
Qld Department of Environment.
18. Other organisations involved
James Cook University, Co-operative Research Centre for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management, University of Queensland, Wet Tropics Management Authority, Qld Department of Natural Resources, amateur frog clubs.
19. Can recovery be carried out with existing resources?
Draft recovery plan for Wet Tropics frogs, including this species, includes: survey and monitoring component ($75K per annum); identification of cause of decline (total cost $249K); and captive breeding (total cost $504K). Total cost of implementation of the draft Recovery Plan is estimated at $1647K over 5 years (7 species).
Total (average cost per species) $235.3K
Ingram, G.J. and McDonald, K.R. 1993. An update on the decline of Queensland's frogs. pp 297-303 in Herpetology in Australia: a diverse discipline. Eds D. Lunney, and D. Ayers, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman.
Martin, W.E. and McDonald, K.R. 1995. Draft recovery plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the Wet Tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland. Unpublished report to the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra.
McDonald, K.R. 1992. Distribution patterns and conservation status of north Queensland rainforest frogs. Conservation Technical Report No. 1., Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, Brisbane.
McDonald, K.R., Covacevich, J.A., Ingram, G.J. and Couper, P.J. 1991. The status of frogs and reptiles. pp 338-345 in An atlas of Queensland's frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals. Eds G.J. Ingram and R.J. Raven, Queensland Museum Board of Trustees: Brisbane.
Richards, S.J., McDonald, K.R., Alford, R.A. 1993. Declines in populations of Australia's endemic tropical rainforest frogs. Pacific Conservation Biology 1: 66-77.
Trenerry, M.P., Laurance, W.F., and McDonald, K.R. 1994. Further evidence for the precipitous decline of endemic rainforest frogs in tropical Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology 1: 150-153.
Herpetological authorities consulted
R.A. Alford, J.-M. Hero, K.R. McDonald, S.J. Richards.