Habitat: Wet Tropics rainforest in tropical North Queensland, melaleuca swamps and mangrove forests

Distribution: Northern Queensland, Papua New Guinea, the Bismarck Islands, and the Admiralty Islands

Length: 11-14cm

Conservation status:  This species is listed as Least Concern in Queensland (Nature Conservation Act 1992).

Diet: Insects and other arthropods

About 

You can't miss the gorgeous white-lipped tree frog (Litoria infrafrenata). It is the world’s largest tree frog and can grow up to 14 centimetres (5.5 inches)!

The females are larger than the males and have thicker skin, in correlation with their difference in body size. These beautiful frogs are bright green on top with an off-white belly, although this can change depending on the temperature and background - they can sometimes be brown too! They get their name from a distinctive white stripe along their lower lip. 

If you see them with a pinkish colour on their legs, this would mean it's mating season for the frogs and you’ve found yourself a male. Like other tree frogs, white-lipped tree frogs have large toe pads which help them climb trees. 

Another interesting fact about the white-lipped tree frog is that it doesn’t make the classic ‘croak’ we normally associate with frogs. Instead, it makes a loud, harsh barking sound that resembles a strong repeated tapping or “tonk…tonk…tonk” sound. Their mating call resembles a large dog's bark.

Listen to the white-lipped tree frog call here.

Luckily, their bark is far worse than their bite, unless you're an insect or an arthropod which makes up their staple diet. 

Behaviours 

White-lipped tree frogs are usually nocturnal, and their activity tends to peak when the air is warm and humid.

They breed from late spring to summer. After rain, the males call from high up in the trees surrounding swamps and ponds to attract the females. The females lay up to 100 brown eggs in clear jelly dumbbell-shaped clumps on the water surface. 

The tadpoles can reach a length of up to 6cm and are dark brown with two distinct light brown stripes from the tip of the snout to the tail. They are aquatic and often swim at the surface of the water bodies to feed on various algae, aquatic plant species and leaves that have fallen into the water.

The process of development from egg to frog takes around eight weeks.

In Australia, a potential threat to the species is the loss of a suitable habitat due to logging.

 

Having a connected rainforest is crucial to the long-term survival of this species. You can help protect the white-lipped tree frog's habitat in the Daintree. Find out how.

 

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  • Mark Bihag
    published this page in Canopy Library 2024-04-02 11:26:08 +1100