Spotted Tree Frog (Litoria spenceri)
Threatened Species Day fact sheet
With around 4000 individuals remaining in 12 isolated populations, the Spotted Tree Frog is at risk of disappearing forever.
The Spotted Tree Frog is listed as endangered under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The EPBC Act is the main Commonwealth legislation for protecting the environment and conserving biodiversity.
Found in the cold mountain streams from the Central Highlands in Victoria, to Mt Kosciuszko in New South Wales, Spotted Tree Frogs are about six centimetres long, and are brown, grey or olive-green in colour, sometimes with darker brown spots covering the top of their body.
The adult frog feeds on flying insects, while the tadpoles feed mostly on algae. It is thought that the Spotted Tree Frog reproduces between October and December – the female lays up to 1000 eggs in narrow spaces between the river stones.
The Spotted Tree Frog is found in swift-flowing upland streams in mountainous areas. The areas are usually very steep, always rocky and can range from dense, moist forest at higher altitudes to very little cover at the lower altitudes.
The exact reasons for the decline of the Spotted Tree Frog are unknown, however introduced trout species feed on the tadpoles and are known to significantly impact on Spotted Tree Frog populations.
Habitat disturbance near the stream affects water quality and increases sedimentation of the habitat. Disease may also be a threat, and the recent fires in the alpine region also affected the habitat of the species.
Extensive research on the Spotted Tree Frog has been undertaken since 1994. Through the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust a recovery plan has been developed and a number of actions identified, including captive breeding, extensive monitoring and the exclusion of introduced fish species such as trout from tree frog habitat.
Habitat is also being protected through controlling weeds, and monitoring of the species is underway to determine the impact of bushfires. Community education programs are helping to ensure that tree frog habitat is not disturbed.
Here's how you can help the Spotted Tree Frog as well as other threatened species in Victoria:
- ensure your recreational activities do not degrade streamside vegetation;
- if you fish, find out whether your favourite spot is a habitat site for the frog and what you should do to avoid harming the species;
- if you are a member of an angling group, organise a guest speaker on the species; and
- if you see a Spotted Tree Frog in the wild, contact your local coordinator at the details given below.
Bogs are complex and diverse systems. They contain rare plant, moss and liverwort species and provide habitat for threatened species such as the Alpine Water Skink and Baw Baw Frog.
Bogs occur in permanently wet sites in the high country of mainland Australia. Bogs contribute enormously to the hydrology of the high country by regulating water flow and filtering suspended material.
Undisturbed bogs typically have peaty soils with a complete cover of vegetation, lots of Sphagnum moss, and discrete pools of water. Bogs which have been disturbed have isolated pockets of sphagnum, a lot of bare peat and linking channels instead of discrete pools.
Alpine bogs are damaged by livestock grazing and trampling, ski resort activities, fire, weed invasion and, potentially, by global warming. Many of the alpine bogs in Victoria have contracted markedly since European settlement. The Victorian Alpine Bog community has been nominated for listing as a threatened ecological community under the EPBC Act.
Excluding cattle and horses from alpine bogs, ensuring walking tracks and roads do not intersect bogs, and minimising disturbance from ski resorts helps conserve and protect these unique communities.
Parks Victoria and the Bogong High Plains Restoration Alliance are carrying out restoration work in alpine bogs. Funding has been provided to the Alliance through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program. The Victorian National Parks Association also works closely on issues relating to the protection and conservation of alpine bogs.
For more information about helping threatened species in Victoria contact the Threatened Species Network Coordinator:
Phone: (03) 9341 6507
You can also find out more information about Australia's threatened species by calling the Department of the Environment and Heritage Community Information Unit on free call 1800 803 772 or by visiting www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened.