NEWS

Common Spadefoot Toad (Neobatrachus sudelli)
by Geoff Heard
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Preliminary data are in! So far we have received 415 records from citizen scientists. At time of press, the most recorded frog is the Spotted Marsh Frog, Limnodynastes tasmaniensis. The Spotted Marsh Frog’s call is a high-pitched cluck and they are busy calling right now! The second most recorded frog is the Pobblebonk (Limnodynastes dumerilii) followed by the Common Eastern Froglet (Crinia signifera) and Emerald Spotted Tree frog (Litoria peronii). This could all change in the next few months, so do keep recording! We are interested to know when the frogs are calling you as well as where and how it changes.

All of these species are common and widespread and are familiar to many citizen scientists. These frogs are often recorded on people’s properties as well as at WetMAP target sites.

The frog species that are calling you

Common Eastern Froglet Crinia signifera


Common Eastern Froglet, Crinia signifera, by Geoff Heard.

Also known as: Clicking Froglet, Common Froglet, Eastern Brown Froglet

Distribution: Throughout Victoria, but less common in the north-west of the state.

Conservation: Not considered threatened.

Habitat: Lots of places where there is water – backyard ponds, shallow dams, lakes and wetlands.

Call: “Crick, crick, crick”. Not unlike a cricket chirping.

And another thing: Individual Common Eastern Froglets often vary greatly in colour, skin texture and pattern and look like many other species. Their call is the best way to identify them.

By Elaine Bayes, WetMAP field scientist

Hi, I’m Elaine, a wetland ecologist, and together with Dr Geoff Brown from the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, I have been carrying out the frog monitoring for the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program for environmental water (WetMAP - see the “Putting the wet in wetland” article for more – Ed.). We started monitoring in 2018 to ascertain if environmental watering makes a difference to frog diversity and abundance. The ecology of wetlands is very complex and understanding how and when to water them is new and challenging. This project is one of the most comprehensive ever undertaken and involves many elements, including surveying frogs and their habitat.


So what do we actually do? Well, we survey 29 wetlands. Each survey involves us setting up multiple 50 metre transects at each wetland. During the day we look at habitat structure and water quality, and at night, we listen and actively search for frogs, tadpoles, eggs etc.


Standing in the dark listening to frogs is a lovely thing to do, as I am sure all of you citizen scientists out there will agree. Slightly less exciting is trying to find your locations in the dark, often through the bush and in tricky to get to spots. By midnight we are happy to collapse in bed counting frogs in our sleep.


Our results so far have yet to be analysed, particularly the sound recorders. But up until August 2019 a total of over 6,300 frog records, representing eight species, were recorded. The most frequently recorded species were Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis) and Perons Tree Frog (Litoria peronii). Conversely, the nationally endangered Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis) which used to be common in northern Victoria, surviving in irrigation channels, was only found in the North Central at Wirra-Lo Wetland. The Mallee Spadefoot (Neobatrachus pictus) was rarely recorded, only four records.


Autumn-winter surveys are about to commence. These data, along with all the citizen science data will be collated, analysed and reported in the newsletter later this year.


Winter is frog heaven, so wrap up and go frog hunting. The Frog ID App really makes frog monitoring for everyone a breeze. Simply download the app and go to your favoured spot and hit record. They will even send you an email confirming the species you found.


So see you out there!

Frogs are more active at night so as to avoid predators

A frog citizen science project

Science is for everyone! Join our project investigating the effects of water management on the frogs of northern and western Victoria. The frogs are calling you!

Sign up today to help us discover how water management is affecting frogs. Check out our Instructions page for more information on how to collect data.

@frogscalling  #frogscalling

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