Davies' Tree Frog
© 2007 Kellie Whittaker (1 of 1)
Litoria daviesae can be distinguished from the closely related species Litoria subglandulosa by color, skin texture and adult size, as well as mitochondrial DNA and allozyme profiles. Litoria daviesae coloration varies from golden brown with scattered dark mottling on the dorsum, to having some green patches. It has a narrow dark-brown stripe from the snout through the eye, which broadens along the side before breaking up into patches; a broad green stripe under the eye, from the nasal area to the shoulder; and a white stripe along the upper lip. The dorsal skin texture of L. daviesae is lightly shagreened (small raised bumps) in most specimens, rather than smooth; ventrally, the texture is slightly granular (Mahony et al. 2001). Adult L. daviesae can reach a greater maximum size (53 mm SVL for males, 63 mm SVL for females) compared to L. subglandulosa. In contrast to L. daviesae, L. subglandulosa is predominantly green, with smooth skin, and a smaller maximum size (40 mm SVL for males, 50 mm SVL for females) (Anstis and Littlejohn 1996; Mahony et al. 2001).
Litoria daviesae tadpoles share a unique larval mouthpart morphology with the closely related L. subglandulosa. The tadpole mouth is subterminal, funnel-shaped, lacks a keratinized (horny) beak and denticles (teeth), and is surrounded by long papillae (Tyler and Anstis 1975). This larval mouthpart morphology distinguishes tadpoles of these two species from all other Australo-Papuan hylids (Anstis and Littlejohn 1996).
Distribution and Habitat
Litoria daviesae prefers well-vegetated upland riparian habitats, above 400 m in elevation (Mahony et al. 2001). This contrasts with L. subglandulosa, which is not found at elevations below 600 m (NSW NPWS 1994). Adult L. daviesae frogs occur adjacent to permanently flowing streams with varying water flow and depth. Streamside vegetation type depends on location of the preferred streams, with wet sclerophyll and rainforest dominating for those streams found in deep gullies or along the escarpment of the Great Dividing Range. In the tablelands, streams populated by L. daviesae typically have tea tree, ferns, and tussocks as adjacent vegetation, and dry open forest or heath as surrounding vegetation (Mahony et al. 2001).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
A recorded call can be found here: Litoria daviesae sound file
This species does not appear to be abundant. It has a limited distribution, and although the species has been described from 18 different localities, reports usually indicate small populations and low numbers of frogs collected (Mahony et al. 2001).
Trends and Threats
Threats to L. daviesae populations include: habitat loss and fragmentation, due to clearing for agriculture and forestry activities; possible predation on eggs and tadpoles by exotic fish; degradation of water quality, from forestry and agriculture practices, and potential alterations in stream flows, due to agriculture, development, or forestry practices (Mahony et al. 2001).
Susceptibility to amphibian chytrid fungus is also likely to be a threat to L. daviesae, as chytridiomycosis is widespread in eastern New South Wales and appears to preferentially affect stream frog species (Mahony 2000). However, no infections have been reported for L. daviesae through January 26, 2005 (Speare and Berger 2005).
Possible reasons for amphibian decline
General habitat alteration and loss
Anstis, M (1997). ''25. Glandular Frog, Litoria subglandulosa.'' Threatened Frogs of New South Wales: Habitats, Status and Conservation. H. Ehmann, eds., Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW, Sydney, 213-221.
Anstis, M. and Littlejohn, M.J. (1996). ''The breeding biology of Litoria subglandulosa and L. citropa (Anura: Hylidae), and a re-evaluation of their geographic distribution.'' Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, 120, 83-99.
Mahony M., Knowles R., Foster R., and Donnellan, S. (2001). ''Systematics of the Litoria citropa (Anura: Hylidae) complex in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, Australia, with the description of a new species.'' Records of the Australian Museum, 53, 37-48.
Mahony, M. (2000). ''Prevalence of chytrid in populations of frogs in eastern New South Wales.'' Getting the Jump on Amphibian Diseases: Conference and Workshop Compendium in Cairns, 44.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (1994). Fauna of North-East N.S.W. Forests. North East Forests Biodiversity Report No. 3. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville.
Speare, R., and L. Berger. Chytridiomycosis status of wild amphibians in Australia. 26 Jan. 2005. James Cook University. 2 Mar. 2007 <http://www.jcu.edu.au/school/phtm/PHTM/frogs/chy-au-status.htm>
Tyler, M.J. and Anstis, M. (1975). ''Taxonomy and biology of frogs of the Litoria citropa complex (Anura: Hylidae).'' Records of the South Australian Museum , 17(5), 41-50.
Written by Kellie Whittaker (biologist AT earthlink.net), UC Berkeley
First submitted 2007-03-02
Edited by Kellie Whittaker, Michelle Koo (2021-01-22)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2021 Litoria daviesae: Davies' Tree Frog <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/6128> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 25, 2021.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2021. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 25 Feb 2021.
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