AMPHIBIAWEB
Litoria raniformis
Southern Bell Frog, Warty Bell Frog, Green and Gold Frog, Southern Bell Frog
family: Hylidae
subfamily: Pelodryadinae

© 2002 Ross Nolly (1 of 10)

  hear call (74.1K WAV file)

[call details here]

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.


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

   

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Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Australia, New Zealand

View distribution map using BerkeleyMapper.
Population and Distribution
Litoria raniformis was distributed across a large area of s.e. Aust., including Tas., from 0 to 1300 m in altitude (Osborne et al. 1996). The area of occurrence of the species is about 45,000 (map in Mahony 1999). In NSW and the ACT the range of the species was centred on the Murray and Murrumbidgee R. valleys and their tributaries. The species occurred throughout the Southern Tablelands and was also recorded on the Central Tablelands as far n. as Bathurst (Ehmann & White 1997). The species was widespread across Vic. being only absent from the w. desert regions and the e. alpine regions (Littlejohn 1963, 1982; Hero et al. 1991). In SA the species is known to occur along the lower Murray R. valley, the lower s.e. to near Keith, and a small, apparently introduced population, in the Adelaide Hills (Tyler 1978). In Tas., the species occurred broadly across the n. and e. of the island and on the Bass Strait Is. (Brook 1979). (Mahony 1999)
Declines have occurred in sections of the species range (Mahony 1999). Ehmann and White (1997) noted that in NSW the species had disappeared from sites in the central and southern highlands. The disappearance of populations from the Southern Tablelands of NSW/ACT has been reviewed by Osborne et al. (1996). It is currently widespread throughout the Murray R. valley but has disappeared from a number of sites along the Murrumbidgee R. (Mahony 1999) and there are no recent records from the Monaro district near the Vic. border (G. Gillepie pers. comm.). The species has disappeared from most of its former range across Vic. (G. Gillepie pers. comm.). Litoria raniformis persists in isolated populations in the greater Melbourne area, and in the s.w. of the Vic.. Isolated populations are known from a few sites in central Vic. and Gippsland (Victorian Wildlife Atlas).
Litoria raniformis is known from Cocoparra, Willandra, Grampians, Wilson’s Prominatory, Asbestos Range, Mt William, Maria Is., and Freycinet NP, Sale Common State Game Reserve, Ewings Marsh Flora Reserve, Westgate Park, Nooramanga Coastal Park, Waterhouse Protected Area, Tamar R. Wildlife Sanctuary, Bool Lagoon, Messent NR, St Helen’s Point State Recreation Area, Woomargama and Bondi SF (Tyler 1997). The species is also known from farm areas throughout its range, disused council landfill sites in Melbourne and Woodstock Lagoon Conservation Area (Tyler 1997).

Habitat
Litoria raniformis is usually found in association with dams, ponds and marshes, either amongst sedges and other semi-aquatic vegetation, or sheltering under logs and rocks (Gillespie et al. 1995). The species appears to be associated with permanent waterbodies though it is unclear whether, like L. aurea, the species also utilises ephemeral pools (Mahony 1999). The species occurs both in woodland and areas of improved pasture (Gillespie et al. 1995).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Reproduction
Little is known about the biology of this species, however it is likely to be similar to that of L. aurea (Gillespie et al. 1995). Males call from Aug. to Apr. (Hero et al. 1991). The species breeds in permanent ponds or swamps, usually with extensive areas of sedges and rushes from which adults call (Gillespie et al. 1995). About 1698 eggs are laid in a loose clump (Hero et al. 1991, Hero & Warrell unpublished). Tadpoles are free swimming and develop over summer and autumn (Gillespie et al. 1995). Metamorphosis takes place between late summer and autumn, although tadpoles may overwinter and metamorphose the following season (Gillespie et al. 1995).

Feeding
Adults are opportunistic predators, preying on other frogs and are also known to be cannibalistic (Hero et al. 1991; Gillespie et al. 1995).

Invasive species
Litoria raniformis is usually found in association with dams, ponds and marshes, either amongst sedges and other semi-aquatic vegetation, or sheltering under logs and rocks (Gillespie et al. 1995). The species appears to be associated with permanent waterbodies though it is unclear whether, like L. aurea, the species also utilises ephemeral pools (Mahony 1999). The species occurs both in woodland and areas of improved pasture (Gillespie et al. 1995).

Trends and Threats
The cause(s) of the apparent declines observed in populations of all taxa within the L. aurea complex are unclear (Gillespie et al. 1995). Investigations of disappearances among the group have primarily focused on L. aurea and L. castanea and two major directions in research have been pursued: the role of increased ultraviolet radiation; and the impact of the introduced fish, Gambusia (Mahony 1999). It is also possible that disease, such as a viral infection or chytrid fungus, may have contributed to the decline of some species (W. Osborne pers. comm.).
As for L. aurea , L. raniformis have disappeared from sites where Gambusia are present (Mahony 1999; W. Osborne pers. comm.). The dates of introduction of Gambusia to many regions are not well documented and this lack of information has hampered research into declines (Mahony 1999).

References
 

Brook, A.J. (1979). Atlas of Frogs of Tasmania. Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne.  

Ehmann, H. and White, A. (1997). ''23. Southern Bell Frog, Litoria raniformis.'' Threatened Frogs of New South Wales: Habitats, Status and Conservation. H. Ehmann, eds., Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW, Sydney South, Australia, 194-200.  

Gillespie, G. and Hero, J.-M. (1999). ''Potential impact of introduced fish and fish translocations on Australian amphibians.'' Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. A. Campbell, eds., Environment Australia, Canberra, 131–144.  

Gillespie, G.R., Osborne, W.S. and Mc Elhinney, N.A. (1995). The Conservation Status of Frogs in the Australian Alps: A Review. A Report to the Australian Alps Liaison Committee, Canberra.  

Goldingay, R., and Lewis, B. (1999). ''Development of a conservation strategy for the Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea in the Illawarra region of New South Wales.'' Australian Zoologist, 31, 376-387.  

Hero, J.-M., Littlejohn, M., and Marantelli, G. (1991). Frogwatch Field Guide to Victorian Frogs. Department of Conservation and Environment, Victoria.  

Littlejohn, M.J. (1963). ''Frogs of the Melbourne area.'' Victorian Naturalist, 79, 296-304.  

Littlejohn, M.J. (1982). ''Amphibians of Victoria.'' Victorian Yearbook, 85, 1-11.  

Mahony, M. (1999). ''Review of the declines and disappearances within the bell frog species group (Litoria aurea species group) in Australia.'' Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. A. Campbell, eds., Environment Australia, Canberra, 81-93.  

Martin, A.A. and Tyler, M.J. (1978). ''The Introduction into Western Australia of the frog Limnodynastes tasmaniensis Gunther.'' Australian Zoologist, 19(3), 321-325.  

Morgan, L. A., and Buttemer, W. A. (1996). ''Predation by the non-native fish Gambusia holbrooki on small Litoria aurea and L. dentata tadpoles.'' Australian Zoologist, 30(2), 143-149.  

Osborne, W. S., Littlejohn, M. J., and Thomson, S. A. (1996). ''Former distribution and apparent disappearance of the Litoria aurea complex.'' Australian Zoologist, 30(2), 190-198.  

Tyler, M.J. (1997). The Action Plan for Australian Frogs. Wildlife Australia, Canberra, ACT.



Written by J-M. Hero; G. Gillespie; L. Shoo; M. Stoneham (m.hero AT mailbox.gu.edu.au), Griffith University
First submitted 2002-03-15
Edited by Ambika Sopory, Jean-Marc Hero (2008-09-18)



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Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2014. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: http://amphibiaweb.org/. (Accessed: Oct 31, 2014).

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