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 Endangered as Litoria dayi
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 Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan] as Nyctimystes dayi.
 
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] as Nyctimystes dayi.
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178, 181 and 183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (160) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2014h) [Legislative Instrument] as Litoria dayi.
 
State Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list) as Nyctimystes dayi
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Endangered (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Litoria dayi [86707]
Family Hylidae:Anura:Amphibia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Gunther, 1897)
Infraspecies author  
Reference http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/14969/0; F. Kraus (2013). Morphological data show that Litoria dayi should never have been assigned to Nyctimystes. Memoirs of the Qld Museum/ Nature 56(2): 581-587
Other names Nyctimystes dayi [1813]
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

The Lace-eyed Tree Frog occurred throughout the Wet Tropics Bioregion from Paluma to Cooktown, northern Queensland, at altitudes between 0 and 1200 m (McDonald 1992).

The species has been recorded on Commonwealth land in the Tully and Cowley Beach Training Area (ACTFR 1999, Brown and Root 2001, Earthworks 2000, HLA 2002, Sinclair Knight Mertz 1997).

The extent of occurrence of the Lace-eyed Tree Frog was originally approximately 9000 km² (McDonald 1992).

The Lace-eyed Tree Frog has disappeared from upland sites throughout the Wet Tropics and was last recorded from Mt Spec State Forest in 1990 and the Kirrama Range in 1989 (Richards et al. 1993; M.Cunningham 2001, pers. comm.). Richards et al. (1993) noted that the species was still common at most foothill and lowland sites and recorded adults and larvae from upland sites north of the Daintree River. These populations subsequently disappeared in 1992 and 1993 (M.Cunningham 2001, pers. comm.). At one monitoring site at O'Keefe Creek, Big Tableland, the Lace-eyed Tree Frog has occasionally reappeared near a site at an altitude of 400 m, but has not established resident populations and is absent from a monitoring site at 680 m. The lowland and foothill populations still exist (McDonald & Alford 1999).

Tadpoles from eggs laid in early summer complete development in three to four months. Those eggs laid in late summer may overwinter and metamorphose the following summer (Davies & Richards 1990).

The Lace-eyed Tree Frog occurs in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (where there is no logging or clearing of its habitat), in Cedar Bay National Park, Crater Lakes National Park, Daintree National Park, Lumholtz National Park, Millstream National Park, Paluma Range National Park and Wooroonooran National Park, Crystal Cascades National Park, Wallaman Falls (Seaview), and Palmerston National Park, and Daintree Timber Reserve (165 Monkhouse) as well as Lamb Range, Mt Lewis, Mt Spec and Windsor Tableland State Forests (SF 768 Alcock) (Tyler 1997; M.Cunningham 2001, pers. comm).

The Lace-eyed Tree Frog occurs in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (where there is no logging or clearing of its habitat), in Cedar Bay National Park, Crater Lakes National Park, Daintree National Park, Lumholtz National Park, Millstream National Park, Paluma Range National Park and Wooroonooran National Park, Crystal Cascades National Park, Wallaman Falls (Seaview), and Palmerston National Park, and Daintree Timber Reserve (165 Monkhouse) as well as Lamb Range, Mt Lewis, Mt Spec and Windsor Tableland State Forests (SF 768 Alcock) (Tyler 1997; M.Cunningham 2001, pers. comm).

This frog is a rainforest species, endemic to the Wet Tropics Bioregion (Williams & Hero 1998, 2001).

It is associated with rainforests and rainforest margins. In montane areas the species prefers fast-flowing rocky streams although they also frequent slower watercourses where ample vegetation exists along the margins. At low elevations, the Lace-eyed Tree Frog favours rock soaks, narrow ephemeral streams and rock outcrops in larger watercourses. It may also be found on rocks, boulders and vegetation in or adjacent to streams (Czechura et al. 1987).

Tadpoles from eggs laid in early summer complete development in three to four months. Those eggs laid in late summer may overwinter and metamorphose the following summer (Davies & Richards 1990).

The Lace-eyed Tree Frog is a spring/summer breeder (Davies & Richards 1990) with peak breeding activity from October to April (Hero & Fickling 1994; Hodgkinson & Hero 2002). The competition for females may necessitate territorial behaviour in males, as they have never been found calling in a group or within 1 m of another male (Hodgkinson & Hero 2002). Amplexus is axillary and eggs are laid in a cohesive clump under rocks in rapidly-flowing water (Czechura et al. 1987). A clutch collected contained 107 unpigmented eggs (egg diameter 2.3-2.6 mm, capsule diameter 3.3-3.5 mm, n=5) (Davies & Richards 1990). Tadpoles can be found on or under rocks in fast flowing sections of stream and show adaptations to living in torrent, such as large suctorial mouthparts and muscular tails (Anstis 2002; Davies & Richards 1990; Hero & Fickling 1994). After hatching they aggregate under a rock until their digestive tracts are fully formed. After several days they begin to graze on benthic algae and may drift downstream (Davies & Richards 1990).

Adults feed indiscriminately on both aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates (Hodgkinson & Hero 2002). Their principal diet includes Coleoptera, Aranea, Odonate larvae, Blattodea and Diptera (Hodgkinson & Hero in review).

The Lace-eyed Tree Frog displays a moderate association with streams and is found with some reliability within the stream banks over an extended season (McDonald & Alford 1999). It moves towards rainforest streams where it is known to breed only during the warmer wet season/early dry season. Adult males are most abundant at the stream during this time, presumably because they are holding breeding territories. Juveniles and females are rarely encountered. Changes in the stream temperature seem to influence nocturnal activity and trigger the movement of the species in relation to the stream. The location of this species during non-breeding periods remains unknown (Hodgkison & Hero 2002).

The methods that have successfully been used in the past to survey the Lace-eyed Tree Frog are visual encounter surveys, call surveys and larval sampling (UC 2003).

Call surveys should be conducted during the known calling period of the Lace-eyed Tree Frog, between September and April (Richards 1992). Males call at night from rocks and low foliage along rapidly-flowing stretches of creek (Hodgkinson & Hero 2002).

The larval period of the Lace-eyed Tree Frog is from October to May (Richards 1992).

The reason(s) for the decline of the species are largely unknown. Although in the past habitat destruction may have been a factor, clearing or logging has not taken place in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, where the species occurs, since 1988 (McDonald & Alford 1999). Richards et al. (1993) first noted a decline of the species in pristine rainforest habitats in 1989. Richards et al. (1993) reject drought, floods, habitat destruction or changes in water quality (pH, conductivity, temperature, dissolved oxygen and metal ions) as the primary causes of the decline. However, in a study by Hodgkinson & Hero (2002) cold temperatures were found to reduce the activity of the Lace-eyed Tree Frog and it was suggested that prolonged exposure to cold, dry conditions (particularly at high altitudes) may inhibit the breeding and survival of the frogs and influence recruitment in local populations. There has been repeated speculation that UV-B light has caused declines, but there is no evidence to support this and it is now considered unlikely as a hypothesis (NQTFRT 2001).

Current research is examining the possibility that disease, possibly a virus or chytrid fungus, may have contributed to the decline of this species (Berger et al. 1999; McDonald & Alford 1999), and there is considerable circumstantial evidence to support this hypothesis (NQTFRT 2001). Individuals collected in December 1998 were infected with the chytrid fungus (Speare & Berger 2000). The Lace-eyed Tree Frog has less effective natural defences (protective skin peptides) against chytrid fungus than other frog species in the same habitats that have not declined (Woodhams et al. 2006).

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 (AGDEH 2006o).

Feral pigs are a potential cause of riparian habitat damage and adult frog mortality. The activity of feral pigs has increased over the period 1989-1992 in an area previously inhabited by the Lace-eyed Tree Frog. However, there is very little research into the impact of feral pigs on native frog populations (Richards et al. 1993).

A Threat Abatement Plan has been developed, 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 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
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Climate Change and Severe Weather:Reduced rainfall caused by climate change Seasonal behaviour of Litoria nannotis, Litoria rheocola and Nyctimystes dayi in Tully Gorge, north Queensland, Australia. In: R. Nattrass, ed. Frogs in the Community - Proceedings of the Brisbane Conference 13-14 Feb 1999. (Hodgkison, S.C. & J.-M. Hero, 2002) [Proceedings].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Sus scrofa (Pig) Declines in populations of Australia's endemic tropical rainforest frogs. Pacific Conservation Biology. 1:66-77. (Richards, S.J., K.R. McDonald & R.A. Alford, 1993) [Journal].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Presence of pathogens and resulting disease Chytrid fungi and amphibian declines: overview, implications and future directions. In: Campbell, A., ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Page(s) 23-33. (Berger, L., R. Speare & A. Hyatt, 1999) [Book].
Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Utility and Service Lines:Powerline easement maintenance and construction; mortality due to collision with powerlines Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan].

ACTFER (1999). Flora and Fauna monitoring of the Tully Training Area and Cowley Beach Training Area, North Queensland - Wet season 1999. Report for Natural Resource Assessments Pty Ltd and the Department of Defence.

Anstis, M. (2002). Tadpoles of South-eastern Australia. A guide with keys. Sydney, NSW: Reed New Holland.

Berger, L., R. Speare & A. Hyatt (1999). Chytrid fungi and amphibian declines: overview, implications and future directions. In: Campbell, A., ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Page(s) 23-33. [Online]. Canberra: Environment Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/frogs.html.

Brown and Root (2001). Tully and Cowley Beach Training Area: Survey data. Report number BNT004-G-DO-03 Rev A, Brown and Root Services Asia Pacific Pty Ltd. Townsville.

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.

Cunningham, M. (2001). Personal communication.

Czechura, G.V., G.J. Ingram & D.S. Liem (1987). The genus Nyctimystes (Anura: Hylidae) in Australia. Records of the Australian Museum. 39:333-338.

Davies, M. & S.J. Richards (1990). Developmental biology of the Australian hylid frog Nyctimystes dayi (Gunther). Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia. 114:207-211. Hons. Thesis.

Earthworks (2000). Ecological monitoring at the Tully Training Area, Wet season 2000. Earthworks. Report number 99c31B, Report for Natural Resource Assessments Pty Ltd and the Defence Estate Organization NQ, Department of Defence.

Hero, J.-M & S. Fickling (1994). A Guide to the Stream-Dwelling Frogs of the Wet Tropics Rainforests. North Queensland: James Cook University.

HLA (2002). Threatened stream-dwelling frog species of TTA: Monitoring program 2002. Report for the Department of Defence by Natural Resource Assessments Pty Ltd.

Hodgkison, S.C. & J.-M. Hero (2002). Seasonal behaviour of Litoria nannotis, Litoria rheocola and Nyctimystes dayi in Tully Gorge, north Queensland, Australia. In: R. Nattrass, ed. Frogs in the Community - Proceedings of the Brisbane Conference 13-14 Feb 1999. Qld Museum.

Hodgkison, S.C. & J.-M. Hero (2003). Seasonal, sexual and ontogenetic variations in the diet of the declining frogs, Litoria nannotis, L. rheocola and Nyctimystes dayi. Wildlife Research. 30:345-354.

McDonald, K. & R. Alford (1999). A review of declining frogs in northern Queensland. In: A. Campbell, ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Page(s) 14-22. Canberra: Environment Australia.

McDonald, K.R. (1992). Distribution patterns and conservation status of north Queensland rainforest frogs. Conservation Technical Report 1. Brisbane: Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage.

Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT) (2001). Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004. [Online]. QPWS. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/rainforest-frogs/index.html.

Richards, S.J. (1992). The tadpole of the Australian frog Litoria nyakalensis (Anura: Hylidae), and a key to the torrent tadpoles of northern Queensland. Alytes. 10:99-103.

Richards, S.J., K.R. McDonald & R.A. Alford (1993). Declines in populations of Australia's endemic tropical rainforest frogs. Pacific Conservation Biology. 1:66-77.

Sinclair Knight Mertz (1997). Resource Assessment Study: Tully Training Area. Consultancy report for the Department of Defence.

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.

Williams, S.E. & J-M. Hero (1998). Rainforest frogs of the Australian Wet Tropics: guild classification and the ecological similarity of declining species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 265:597-602.

Williams, S.E. & J-M. Hero (2001). Multiple Determinants of Australian Tropical Frog Biodiversity. Biological Conservation. 98:1-10.

Woodhams, D.C., L.A. Rollins-Smith, C. Carey, L. Reinert, M.J. Tyler & R.A. Alford (2006). Population trends associated with skin peptide defenses against chytridiomycosis in Australian frogs. Oecologia. 146:531-540.

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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). Litoria dayi in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Wed, 20 Aug 2014 17:45:27 +1000.