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Frog ID

September 27, 2022

It has been a wonderful experience to learn the calls of local frogs. I’ve been late coming to this bank of information and I’ve been surprised that it is not that difficult. The FrogID app on my phone is a doorway into this wonderful world. It lists the frogs you may find in an area and each one is given a handful of photos, a full description and a handful of sound recordings. What is even more amazing, is that when a frog is calling in the wild, I push a button to record the call, submit it and in a week or two, get an email telling me what frog is in my recording. The work of Australia’s most enthusiastic frogger Jodi Rowley from Australia University seems to be driving this fantastic resource.

Reading through the archive of this Focus on Fauna blog, there are many references to the Plains Brown Tree Frog (Litoria paraewingi) now called Victorian Tree Frog. It has been pointed out that a. it is very difficult to distinguish from the Brown Tree Frog (Litoria ewingii) and b. that the two do not live in the same area and it is hard to tell which one lives in our area – the distribution maps meet around here somewhere.

So I picked up this fellow struggling through wet grass and wondered which one it might be. Is it L. ewingi or L. paraewingi?

The museum site says you cannot distinguish between the two species on appearance; they are both variable and have the same markings. They can be greenish, brown, cream, tan, or grey and the markings can be bold or faint. They both boast a black stripe from snout to shoulder with a smart white outline below, but it can be faint. The way you tell them apart is by the call; though both can be described as creee-cree-cree, – one (L. ewingii)is quicker and shorter than the other (L. paraewingi).

I can confidently declare it is a Victorian Tree Frog (Litoria paraewingi) – formerly the Plains Brown T.F.

My reasons are that it looks very much like one of the photos on the app and is very small – L. paraewingi tends to be smaller. But the main reason is that I have sent off several recordings to Jodi Rowley of tree frogs calling in the area and they all came back as L. paraewingi, Victorian Tree Frog. Since the two species do not co-exist in the one area, any small tree frog we find is sure to be that.

Don’t thank me, thank Jodi.

A recording of L.Paraewingi, Victorian Tree Frog
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