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Litoria subglandulosa
New England Tree Frog, Sublime Tree Frog, Glandular Frog
family: Hylidae
subfamily: Pelodryadinae

© 2000 Sean Schoville (1 of 2)

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Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN (Red List) Status Vulnerable (VU)
See IUCN account.
CITES No CITES Listing
Other International Status None
National Status None
Regional Status None

   

Description
Females grow to 50mm and males 40mm in SVL. They are a green to olive brown above (often with black flecking) and usually have green sides. They have a golden stripe bordered underneath by a black stripe that runs from the nostrils, through the eyes, over the tympanum and down the flanks. They also have a distinctive white line running along the top lip to the angle of the jaws. The sides, groin and backs of thighs are a brilliant red to orange. Litoria subglandulosa is said to be more brightly coloured than the closely related species Litoria daviesae, although both look quite beautiful.

The tadpoles of L. subglandulosa grow up to 35mm in length and are reasonably typical tree frog tadpoles to look at except that they lack teeth or a beak, instead having a series of tentacle-like papillae around the mouth. This is exceptional amongst the tree frogs of Australia and what they eat is unknown, but of some curiosity.

This frog is also very, very similar in appearance to the related species Litoria citropa (Blue Mountains Tree Frog). Fortunately, there is no overlap in the ranges and so individuals can be told apart simply by where there are found. They are broadly similar as well to the leaf green tree frogs (Litoria phyllochroa and Litoria pearsoniana groups), but can be clearly distinguished by a white lip and bright red-orange sides and thighs.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Australia

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Litoria subglandulosa and Litoria daviesae are both residents of the New England Tablelands, with Litoria daviesae being located from Mount Royal to Werrikimbee in New South Wales and Litoria subglandulosa continuing on from just north of this at the Styx River area to the Queensland border and just over. The extent of occurrence of the species is approximately 37900 km2. Both are high altitude specialists, occurring from as low as around 500m in altitude up to above 1100 metres. Interestingly, in the Nowendoc area, the New England Tree Frog is the most common species on streams and inhabits all available permanently flowing streams. This may be the case further north, but surveys at the correct time and under the correct conditions have not been performed. There are reports that the populations once known from Queensland have now disappeared, but again there is not good survey evidence to demonstrate this conclusively.

New England Tree Frogs are found in a range of habitats, both very natural and highly disturbed. They call along large permanent streams 5-10m in width, but also use very small streams that are no more than 50cm wide. They have been found in wet sclerophyll forest and rainforest, dry sclerophyll forest, montane woodlands and semi-cleared to cleared grazing lands. It appears that they will stay on a stream as long as there is some fringing vegetation. Furthermore, they are just as common in the highly modified landscapes as they are in those areas that are undisturbed; this frog is clearly quite adaptable in its habitat requirements.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
These frogs have a spring calling season that starts relatively early (August or September) and extends regularly only until early December. Calling can be heard later in the summer than this, but only rarely so and not in any concerted way. Temperatures at the time of calling can probably be relatively low (<100C). Males have only ever been recorded calling along permanent streams where they will sit on logs or in low vegetation such as tea-tree, Callicoma sp. and, particularly, Lomandra sp. I have also had an individual calling from within a log bridge and calling does occur at times during daylight hours (possibly when there are low night-time temperatures). The call is a hollowish sounding “co-cuck” repeated once or twice a second in succession for up to 10 seconds or more, but is described in Martin Robinson’s field guide as “orak..orak..orak”. The eggs are laid attached to submerged vegetation in darkly shadowed sections of streams.

What individuals do outside of breeding times is not clear, although frogs have been found in the surrounding forest moving around in low vegetation. Being a tree frog with prominent suckered toes, both species may be relatively arboreal in nature. They presumably eat invertebrates, but their diet has not been investigated.

Trends and Threats
Rationale for the Red List Assessment.

Historical declines (more than 10 years/3 generations ago) so fails to meet IUCN criteria for declines. Missing from some sites, status at other sites not well known.

Susceptible to various threats across its range. Habitat deterioration in parts of range. Threats include habitat modification due to removal of riparian vegetation, especially from grazing and timber harvesting. Introduced predators are also a threat; trout have been released into streams that support small populations of the frog.

Comments
This description is partially based on information contributed by Frank Lemckert (pers. comm. 2003).

These two very beautiful tree frogs (I’ll refer to both species of Litoria as New England Tree Frogs) are very closely related, with Litoria daviesae having been split from Litoria subglandulosa in 2003 based on new genetic tests.



Written by J.-M. Hero; Harry Hines (m.hero AT mailbox.gu.edu.au), Griffith University
First submitted 2002-05-04
Edited by Ambika Sopory, Jean-Marc Hero, F. Lemckert, Kellie Whittaker (2008-09-19)



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Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2016. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: http://amphibiaweb.org/. (Accessed: Jun 25, 2016).

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