AmphibiaWeb - Litoria piperata


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Litoria piperata Tyler and Davies, 1985
Peppered Tree Frog
family: Hylidae
subfamily: Pelodryadinae
genus: Litoria
Taxonomic Notes: Following the Australian Society of Herpetology, AmphibiaWeb uses Litoria instead of Ranoidea or Dryopsophus (contrary to Dubois and Fretey 2016 and Duellman et al 2016).
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Australia

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Population and Distribution
Litoria piperata was formerly known from five streams draining the east of the Northern Tablelands, from 800-1120 m, from Gibraltar Range to Armidale, n. NSW (Tyler & Davies 1985). The area of occurrence of the species is approximately 5000 km2 (map in Gillespie & Hines 1999). Despite searches of the historic localities and other streams with similar habitat within the region (Mahony 1997), the species has not been seen since 1973. However, in 1992, surveys outside the known range of L. piperata on the Northern Tablelands located populations of frogs which closely resemble this species (NSW NPWS 1994). While the external morphology of the population closely resembles L. piperata, the mating call is very similar to L. pearsoniana (M. Mahony pers. comm. in Tyler 1997). It is possible that this species represents morphologically distinct outlying populations of L. pearsoniana. Considerable confusion exists over the systematics of the Litoria barringtonensis, L. pearsoniana, L. phyllochroa, and L. piperata complex. Studies of the genetic variation in populations of this complex revealed that the currently recognised species boundaries are in need of major review (Donellan et al. 1999). Further genetic and morphometric studies are required to resolve the systematics of these n. populations. (Gillespie & Hines 1999)
Formerly known from the Oxley Wild Rivers NP (Gara River Nature Reserve) and Mitchell SF (H. Hines pers. comm.). Several of the type specimens were taken on freehold and leasehold land in the vicinity of Glen Innes (Tyler 1997).

Litoria piperata occupied open forest and wet sclerophyll forest (Heatwole et al. 1995) at altitudes of 800 to 1120 m (Gillespie & Hines 1999).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Little is known about the breeding biology of this species. However, morphological similarity to Litoria pearsoniana and L. phyllochroa suggests that ecological similarities are likely (Gillespie & Hines 1999). Advertisement call is not known.

Invasive species
Introduced predatory fish species (Eastern Gambusia Gambusia holbrooki and salmonids) occur in streams formerly occupied by the species and may have displaced frog populations by predation upon larvae (Gillespie & Hines 1999). Given the vulnerability of other members of the L. citropa group to trout predation, these fish are likely to have had a significant impact on L. piperata.

Trends and Threats
Causes of apparent declines are unknown. However, most of the historic sites and other streams in the region have undergone substantial alteration and suffered significant habitat disturbance through land clearance, grazing and timber harvesting (Hines pers. comm.). Introduced predatory fish species also occur in these streams and may have displaced frog populations through predation upon larvae (Gillespie & Hines 1999).


Donnellan, S.C., McGuigan, K., Knowles, R., Mahony, M. and Moritz, C. (1999). ''Genetic evidence for species boundaries in frogs of the Litoria citropa species-group (Anura: Hylidae) .'' Australian Journal of Zoology, 47, 275-293.

Gillespie, G.R. and Hines, H.B. (1999). ''Status of temperate riverine frogs in south-eastern Australia.'' Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. A. Campbell, eds., Environment Australia, Canberra, 109-130.

Heatwole, H., de Bavay, J., Webber, P. and Webb, G. (1995). ''Faunal survey of New England. IV. The frogs.'' Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, 38, 229-249.

Mahony, M., Knowles, R., and Patterson, L. (1997). Peppered Tree Frog Litoria piperata. in: Threatened Frogs of New South Wales: Habitats, Status and Conservation. H. Ehmann (ed.) pp 182-187. Frog and Tadpole Study Group of N.S.W. Inc., Sydney South, Australia.

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

Tyler, M.J. and Davies, M. (1985). ''A new species of Litoria (Anura: Hylidae) from New South Wales, Australia.'' Copeia, 1985(1), 145-149.

Originally submitted by: Jean-Marc Hero et. al. (first posted 2002-03-15)
Edited by: Ambika Sopory, Jean-Marc Hero (2008-09-18)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2008 Litoria piperata: Peppered Tree Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 25, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 25 May 2024.

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