Peppered Tree Frog

Peppered Tree Frog

Taxobox | name = Peppered Tree Frog
status = CR | status_system = IUCN3.1
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Amphibia
ordo = Anura
familia = Hylidae
genus = "Litoria"
species = "L. piperata"
binomial = "Litoria piperata"
binomial_authority = Tyler and Davies, 1985
range_

range_map_width = 200px
range_map_caption = Peppered Tree Frog range.
The Peppered Tree Frog, ("Litoria piperata") is a species of critically endangered tree frog found in northern New South Wales, Australia.

Distribution

This species was formerly known from 5 streams at elevations of 800-1120m draining east in the Northern Tablelands of NSW from Gibraltar Range in the north to Armidale in the south. Despite searches in these streams and adjacent areas this species has not be located in the wild since the 1970s.

However, in 1999 frogs similar in appearance to this species where discovered in streams north of the known range of this species. The frogs had calls similar to the Pearson's Green Tree Frog and genetic testing is required to determine if this population is "L. piperata" or a disjunct population of "L. pearsoniana".

Physical description

This is a small species of frog reaching 30mm in length. It is olive-grey to slate above with many scattered black dots and tubercles across the back, flanks and legs giving the dorsal surface a "peppered" appearance, which in turn gives this species its name. The tympanum is distinct. It has some green colouration on the side of the head. The toes discs are large and toes are webbed. The belly is cream. There is an indisinct dark stripe running from the shoulder, this characteristic is shared with other species in the Leaf Green Tree Frog complex, of which this species is a member. However due to a lack of information on this species, this species has been omitted from the Leaf Green Tree Frog complex key on that page.

Behaviour and ecology

This species is associated with flowing rocky creeks in highland areas of northern New South Wales. The call of this species has not been recorded, however is likely to be similar to other species in the "L. phyllochroa" complex. Males are likely to call during spring and summer from vegetation and rocks boardering streams and creeks.

This species along with the Yellow-spotted Bell Frog, ("Litoria castanea") are two species of frogs in the northern tablelands that suffered rapid declines in the 1980s. The cause for decline of these speices is not fully understood, partly because is was too swift to document, the Chytrid fungus is believed to have played a role in the decline.

References

* [http://www.deh.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=1827 DEH Species Profile]
* [http://frogsaustralia.net.au/frogs/display.cfm?frog_id=179 Frogs Australia Network] -image of this species is available here
* [http://threatenedspecies.environment.nsw.gov.au/tsprofile/profile.aspx?id=10490 DEC Threatened Species Profile]
* [http://redlist.org/search/details.php?species=12151&tab=summ Red List]
*Robinson, M. 2002. A Field Guide to Frogs of Australia. Australian Museum/Reed New Holland: Sydney.


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