Litoria infrafrenata

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Geographic Range

The Giant or White-Lipped tree frog inhabits all of New Guinea and coastal areas of northern Australia near Townsville, Queensland, and around Cape York Peninsula, into the Gulf of Carpenteria (Cogger, 1992).

Habitat

Giant tree frogs aren't very selective when it comes to habitat. They inhabit diverse situations from farms to rainforests. Giant tree frogs can frequently be found in or around human structures, such as houses, sheds, or garages (Cogger, 1992).

Physical Description

Giant tree frogs are bright green or brown on the dorsal surface with an intense white stripe covering its lover lip and extending back below the tympanum to the base of the forelimb. A second white strip runs along the hind legs and includes the fifth and a good portion of the fourth toes. The white stripes have been known to become pink at times (Wildlife-australia, 1999). The ventral surface of the frog is white and the skin on the underside and sides can become quite lumpy and granular. However, the throat and rest of the body is very smooth. No pectoral fold is present on Giant tree frogs. Toe and finger discs are very large, and the fingers are at least half-webbed. The tympanum is quite distinct. The Giant tree frog is the largest tree frog on earth, averaging about 11 centimeters, and reaching a maximum length of 14 centimeters (Cogger, 1992; Tyler, 1994).

Development

Reproduction

The mating call of Giant tree frogs is quite similar to a dog bark. Breeding is in ponds and other shallow water bodies. During amplexus, the female deposits 200 to 400 whitish eggs, each about 3 mm in diameter (Cogger, 1992; Staniszewski, 1995).

  • Key Reproductive Features
  • gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)

Behavior

No information is available.

Food Habits

Giant tree frogs possess vomerine teeth. They prey upon a wide variety of insects, usually on humid, wet evenings (Cogger, 1992).

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

This species undoubtedly helps in the control of insect populations.

Conservation Status

This species is apparently locally common, but information on populations and conservation status is lacking.

Other Comments

The Giant tree frog is occasionally sold in the commercial pet trade; most specimens sold are reportedly wild-caught animals. This is unfortunate, as it is considered rather delicate and more difficult to keep and breed compared to its hardier relative, the "Dumpy" tree frog, Litoria caerulea (Staniszewski, 1995).

Contributors

Ryan Holem (author), Michigan State University, James Harding (editor), Michigan State University.

Glossary

Australian

Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

coastal

the nearshore aquatic habitats near a coast, or shoreline.

ectothermic

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

forest

forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.

metamorphosis

A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

rainforest

rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.

References

Chambers, J. 1998. Accessed 11/16/99, 11/22/99 at Http://wildlife-australia.com/whitenew.htm.

Cogger, G.C., 1992. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Chatswood, Australia: Reed International Books.

Staniszewski, M. 1995. Amphibians in Captivity. Neptune, New Jersey: TFH, Inc..

Tyler, Michael J., 1994. Australian Frogs, A Natural History. Cornell University Press.