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Frogs of the Northeast Queensland      
Tablelands and Uplands
Courtesy of the Tablelands Frog Club

-Mike Trenerry

The highlands above about 400m between the Daintree and Tully Rivers are perhaps the richest area of Australia for frogs. There is a great diversity of frogs and many are interesting and spectacular species. With altitudes on at least six mountain ranges exceeding 1300m (Mt. Bartle Frere is the highest at 1522m) and the rapid fall in annual rainfall to the west, a large variety of habitats exist. There are about 48 species of anurans (frogs and toads) present (more than 20% of all Australia's frogs) and all five Australian anuran families are represented. The adjacent coastal plain has significantly few kinds of frogs.
Some of the interesting statistics and characteristics of the Tablelands' frog assemblage include:

  • there are 6 species of green tree frogs
  • there are 10 species of land-breeding Microhylid frogs which are mostly confined to the rainforest floor
  • 23 species inhabit only open forests and woodlands; 20 species are restricted to rainforest; 3 species are at home in either open or closed forest and in 1 species, the favoured habitat is unknown (Litoria revelata)
  • the largest frogs in this region are females of the White-Lipped Tree frog (150mm), the Northern Barred frog (135mm) and Cyclorama novaehollandiae (1 lOmm); officially, the world record tree frog is Hyla vasta with a 143mm specimen found several decades ago in the Caribbean - but Queensland's White-Tipped Tree frog regularly exceeds this size!
  • the smallest species are the Fast Rattling Nursery frog (Cophixalus hosmeri) and the Windsor Nursery frog (C. bombiens) which can have calling males at only l l mm long 0 7 species are endangered of which 4 can no longer be found in the wild; 10 species are considered rare (ANCA 1994)
  • the best leaping frogs are the Rocket frog (Litoria nasuta), Wood frog (Rana daemeli), the Stony Creek
    frog (Litoria lesueuri) and the Tawny Rocket frog (L. nigrofrenata) the largest tadpoles are the Windsor and Carbine Tableland forms of the Northern Barred frog which regularly exceed 150mm 
  • the greatest diversity of frogs is near the boundary between rainforest and open forest, especially around streams; the Ravenshoe and Julatten districts are especially rich in species 
  • the biggest threats to Tableland frogs are poisons clearing of native vegetation and possibly 'new' diseases or pathogens; toads are competitors rather than predators; disturbance to breeding ponds and road deaths probably have an impact also.

Tablelands Frog Club Inc. Homepage

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Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands
Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
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