Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Vulnerable
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
 
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat Abatement Plan for Predation, Habitat Degradation, Competition and Disease Transmission by Feral Pigs (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2005p) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
Threat Abatement Plan for infection of amphibians with chytrid fungus resulting in chytridiomycosis (Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006o) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
Policy Statements and Guidelines Survey Guidelines for Australia's Threatened Frogs. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.3 (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2010h) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Listing Status
WA: Listed as Vulnerable (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Vulnerable (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Geocrinia vitellina [26172]
Family Myobatrachidae:Anura:Amphibia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Wardell-Johnson and Roberts,1989
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Geocrinia vitellina

Common name: Orange-bellied Frog

The Orange-bellied Frog is a member of the Geocrinia rosea frog complex (Anura: Myobatrachidae), which includes four allopatric (geographically separated) species. The other species in the complex are G. alba, G. rosea and G. lutea (Wardell-Johnson & Roberts 1993).

The Orange-bellied Frog is similar to Geocrinia alba, G. lutea and G. rosea. The Orange-bellied Frog grows to 25 mm and has a distinguishing egg-yolk yellow belly (Cogger 2000).

The Orange-bellied Frog is confined to a 6.3 km² area east of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge in the extreme south-west of Western Australia (Tyler 1997).

The Frog is known from the lower reaches of six creeklines which drain south into the Blackwood River. The largest population occurs at Spearwood Creek, from upstream of the Denny Road crossing, to the Blackwood River. The remaining five populations occur in smaller, nearby creek systems between Denny Road and the Blackwood River (Wardell-Johnson et al. 1995).

It is unlikely that many additional undetected populations exist for the Orange-bellied Frog due to the high level of searching effort carried out prior to, and in the first two years of the implementation of the Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan (Wardell-Johnson 1995).

In 1994 the maximum total number of adults of the species was estimated at 2230 frogs (Wardell-Johnson et al. 1995 in Roberts et al. 1999). Only six populations of the Orange-bellied Frog are known (Roberts et al. 1999).

The Orange-bellied Frog is wholly distributed within State Forests (Tyler 1997). However, most of the species range is within the proposed Blackwood River National Park, an area recommended for reservation in the Western Australian Regional Forestry Agreement (Edwardes 1999).

The Orange-bellied Frog is wholly distributed within State Forests (Tyler 1997). However, most of the species range is within the proposed Blackwood River National Park, an area recommended for reservation in the Western Australian Regional Forestry Agreement (Edwardes 1999).

The Orange-bellied Frog occurs in permanently moist sites in relatively dry and seasonal climatic zones of lateritic uplands and narrow valleys (Wardell-Johnson & Roberts 1993). The species occupies six unconnected and undisturbed areas of riparian vegetation at an elevation of 120 m in broad U-shaped valleys (up to 100 m wide) where there is marked topographic relief (Tyler 1997). The species is abundant at seepages but rare on the valley floor (Tyler et al. 1994). The restricted occurrence of the Orange-bellied Frog appears to reflect very localised suitable habitat conditions (Wardell-Johnson 1995).

Dominant plant species that occur at Orange-bellied Frog sites include: Homalospermum firmum, Pseudoloxocarya grossa, Loxocarya sp. nov., Boronia molloyae, Acacia uliginosa, Agonis linearifolia and Astartea fascicularis (Wardell-Johnson 1995).

Male Orange-bellied Frogs call from small depressions in clay under dense vegetation cover. Eggs are deposited in small depressions and are often associated with calling males. Eggs hatch and the tadpoles develop in a jelly mass with no free swimming or feeding stage (Roberts et al. 1990).

Genetic structuring of Orange-bellied Frog populations indicates that movement is extremely limited with little or no migration among populations for any life stage or sex, even at very local scales (Driscoll 1997, 1998). The genetic differences throughout the range of the species are very large, especially given the small distances between populations (maxima 4 km) (Driscoll 1998). While a precise value for the rate of dispersal cannot be calculated, the conclusion that individuals do not disperse far from their natal swamp is consistent with a mark-recapture study of G. alba and G. vitellina (Driscoll 1997). Driscoll (1997) found that 97% of adult male frogs were displaced less than 20 m over one year, while the maximum displacement was 50 m. Migration rates between populations are so low that any local extinctions are unlikely to be countered in the short term by recolonisation (Driscoll 1998).

The methods that have successfully been used in the past to survey the Orange-bellied Frog are: call surveys and egg mass surveys (UC 2003).

Call surveys should be conducted during the known calling period of the Orange-bellied Frog, between September and December (Driscoll 1998; Wardell-Johnson & Roberts 1991).

Egg mass surveys may be effective, as this species has clearly visible eggs. The larval period of the Orange-bellied Frog is from October to January (Driscoll 1998; Wardell-Johnson & Roberts 1991). Breeding locations for this species are in depressions in clay under vegetation (Roberts et al. 1990).

Survey transects have been established at six Orange-bellied Frog sites. These are monitored three times in the peak breeding season (mid September-late October) (Wardell-Johnson et al. 1995).

None of the known Orange-bellied Frog populations are thought to have become extinct. However, populations burnt in 1997 are currently the subject of monitoring to assess their status. All six known populations occur in State Forest or areas proposed as conservation reserves and are under no immediate threat from clearing or logging activity (Wardell-Johnson 1995).

However, potential threats to the Orange-bellied Frog include inappropriate fire management and feral pigs (Roberts et al. 1999). Chytridiomycosis, a disease implicated in frog declines, has been detected in the Orange-bellied Frog (Speare & Berger 2000).

Chytridiomycosis is an infectious disease affecting amphibians worldwide. The disease has been recorded in four regions of Australia, namely the east coast, south-west Western Australia, Adelaide, and more recently Tasmania. This highly virulent fungal pathogen of amphibians is capable at the minimum of causing sporadic deaths in some populations, and 100 per cent mortality in other populations (DEH 2006).

Threat abatement strategies include the establishment of a fire exclusion zone and measures to increase the species range (Wardell-Johnson et al. 1995).

A fire exclusion zone has been established for part of the range of the Orange-bellied Frog species (covering about half of the geographic range and containing approximately 80% of the adult frog population). The remainder of the range is subject to fuel reduction burning which is restricted to spring on an eight year cycle. Since its establishment, 85% of the fire exclusion zone was burnt at varying intensities in a 1997 wild fire (an escape from a fuel reduction burn in an adjacent block) (Roberts et al. 1999).

As there are large genetic differences between populations, many populations will need to be conserved in order to maintain genetic variation in the long term. Maintaining many small populations is an effective way of preventing loss of genetic variety from the species as a whole. It is likely to be more effective than conserving a smaller number of large populations provided that small populations do not become extinct, which would result in loss of unique genetic variants. The likely biogeographic history of the Orange-bellied Frog suggests that contractions and expansions of geographic range may be a natural phenomenon, and that they play an important role in the evolution of the species. Therefore, if evolutionary processes are to be maintained, range changes need to be accommodated in the long term. For range expansion to take effect, unoccupied swamps need to be available, and there needs to be suitable habitat between sites through which frogs can migrate (Driscoll 1998).

The Department of the Environment and Heritage has developed a threat abatement plan which aims to :

  • Prevent amphibian populations or regions that are currently chytridiomycosis-free from becoming infected by preventing further spread of the amphibian chytrid within Australia,
  • Decrease the impact of infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus on populations that are currently infected.

The Threat Abatement Plan for infection of amphibians with chytrid fungus resulting in chytridiomycosis can be found at http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/chytrid/index.html

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Fertiliser application Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Habitat loss and modification due to clearance of native vegetation and pasture improvements The Implications of Climate Change for Land-based Nature Conservation Strategies (Pouliquen-Young, O. & P. Newman, 1999) [Report].
Biological Resource Use:Logging and Wood Harvesting:Habitat disturbance due to foresty activities Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Sus scrofa (Pig) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Predation, Habitat Degradation, Competition and Disease Transmission by Feral Pigs (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001ab) [Listing Advice].
Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Presence of pathogens and resulting disease Chytridiomycosis in amphibians in Australia (Speare, R & L. Berger, 2000) [Internet].
Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition, grazing, predation and/or habitat degradation by rats Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Changes to hydrology including construction of dams/barriers Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Salinity Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Conservation status of frogs in Western Australia. In: A. Campbell, ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Page(s) 177-184. (Roberts, D., S. Conroy & K. Williams, 1999) [Book].
Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate prescribed regimes and/or vegetation management to control fire regimes Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. (Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams, 1995) [Recovery Plan].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Genetic structure, metapopulation processes and evolution influence the conservation strategies for two endangered frog species. Biological Conservation. 83:43-54. (Driscoll, D.A., 1998) [Journal].

Cogger, H.G. (2000). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia - 6th edition. Sydney, NSW: Reed New Holland.

Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) (2006o). Threat Abatement Plan for infection of amphibians with chytrid fungus resulting in chytridiomycosis. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/chytrid.html.

Driscoll, D.A. (1997). Mobility and metapopulation structure of Geocrinia alba and Geocrinia vitellina, two endangered frog species from southwestern Australia. Australian Journal of Ecology. 22:185-195.

Driscoll, D.A. (1998). Genetic structure, metapopulation processes and evolution influence the conservation strategies for two endangered frog species. Biological Conservation. 83:43-54.

Driscoll, D.A. (1999). Genetic neighbourhood and effective population size for two endangered frogs. Biological Conservation. 88:221-229.

Edwardes, C. (1999). A Regional Forest Agreement Western Australia. [Online]. Available from: http://www.calm.wa.gov.au/forest_facts/rfa_pwrpoint/sld033.htm.

Roberts, D., S. Conroy & K. Williams (1999). Conservation status of frogs in Western Australia. In: A. Campbell, ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Page(s) 177-184. Environment Australia, Canberra.

Roberts, J.D., G. Wardell-Johnson & W. Barendse (1990). Extended descriptions of Geocrinia vitellina and Geocrinia alba (Anura: Myobatrachidae) from south-western Australia, with comments on the status of G. lutea. Records of the Western Australian Museum. 14:427-437.

Speare, R & L. Berger (2000). Chytridiomycosis in amphibians in Australia. [Online]. Townsville, Queensland: Rainforest CRC & School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, James Cook University. Available from: http://www.jcu.edu.au/school/phtm/PHTM/frogs/chyspec.htm.

Tyler, M.J. (1997). The Action Plan for Australian Frogs. [Online]. Wildlife Australia. Canberra, ACT: Environment Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/action/frogs/index.html.

Tyler, M.J., L.A. Smith & R.E. Johnstone (1994). Frogs of Western Australia. WA Museum, Perth.

University of Canberra (UC) - Applied Ecology Research Group (2003). Survey Standards for Australian Frogs. Canberra, Australia.

Wardell-Johnson, G. & J.D. Roberts (1993). Biogeographic barriers in a subdued landscape: the distribution of Geocrinia rosea (Anura: Myobatrachidae) complex in south western Australia. Journal of Biogeography. 20:95-108.

Wardell-Johnson, G., J.D. Roberts, D. Driscoll & K. Williams (1995). Orange-bellied and White-bellied Frogs Recovery Plan - 1992 - 2001. Wildlife Management Program No. 19. [Online]. CALM, Perth. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/frogs/index.html.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Geocrinia vitellina in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 11 Jul 2014 21:28:20 +1000.