Diagnosis and Description: This species is described by Loveridge (1945) as a moderately large tree frog, with the SVL measuring 34 – 44 mm. The head is as long as it is broad. The tympanum is moderate and about half of the orbital diameter (Loveridge 1945). Tyler and Davies (1978) describe the species as having long fingers, which are usually unwebbed, with terminal discs. Relative finger lengths in increasing order, are as follows: I, II, IV, III (Loveridge 1945). Toes are long and webbed.
Coloration: The dorsal skin is dark green and brown, and usually coarse, especially on the eyelids and the head. The ventral surface is usually colored with streaks or patches of dark pigments. Nasal cavities are small and widely separated (Tyler and Davis 1978).
Color in Preservation: Color in preservative is a lead color on the dorsum. A white patch is present on the upper lip beneath the eye. The venter is dusky brown or grayish (Loveridge 1945).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Papua New Guinea
This species was documented in the 1970s and 1980s from Mount Wilhelm and Mount Giluwe in the central mountains of Papua New Guinea. In 2007, a rapid assessment in Papua New Guinea documented a population of L. becki in the high-montane moss forests of the Kaijende Highlands in the Enga Province, at elevation 3,200 m; this new discovery represents a large expansion of known range for the species (Richards, et al, 2007). The species lives in high elevation montane grasslands, and breeds in streams. In 2007, it was found only in and near small open-water bogs in grasslands.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The ova are large, unpigmented, and are laid on the undersurface of stones in fast-flowing streams. The tadpoles have not been observed, but most likely have dorsoventrally flattened bodies and suctorial mouthparts (Tyler and Davies 1978).
Trends and Threats
This species is listed as vulnerable by IUCN because it is known from fewer than 5 locations. The areas in which it has been found have very little human impact, but a potential threat is the spread of chytridiomycosis, which could affect the declines of high-altitude, torrent-dwelling tree frogs in Australia (Richards and Parker, 2004).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
Loveridge, Arthur (1945). ''New Tree Frogs of the Genera Hyla and Nyctimystes from New Guinea.'' Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 58, 53-58.
Richards, S. J. (2007). A Rapid Biodiversity Assessment of the Kaijende Highlands, Enga Province, Papua New Guinea. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 45. Conservation International, Arlington, VA.
Stephen Richards, Fred Parker 2004. Litoria becki. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. . Downloaded on 16 November 2011.
Tyler, M.J. and Davies, M. (1977). ''Species-groups within the Australopapuan hylid frog genus Litoria Tschudi.'' Australian Journal of Zoology Supplementary Series, 63, 1-47.
Written by Tania Pollak (tnpollak AT sfsu.edu), San Francisco State University
First submitted 2010-06-24
Edited by Brent Nguyen, Michelle S. Koo (2012-02-14)
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