The nationally endangered Spotted Tree Frog Litoria spenceri is a medium-sized species which inhabits remote mountainous river systems in Victoria and New South Wales. Female frogs are slightly larger than males reaching a length of approximately 60mm and are variably patterned with olive-grey and green markings. The species is generally well camouflaged amongst the lush streamside vegetation and rocky substrate of mountain streams where it basks and forages during the warmer months of the year. Eggs are deposited under large instream boulders, and tadpole development occurs within the stream.
Where are they found?
Only 12 populations have been located in Victoria; these occur predominantly to the north-western side of the Great Dividing Range, between the Central Highlands of Victoria and Mt Kosciusko in NSW. Spotted Tree Frog inhabit naturally vegetated, rocky, swift-flowing upland streams in dissected mountainous country, between 280 and 1110 metres above sea level.
The species has disappeared from 50% of known historic sites, is rare at all remaining sites and is expected to become extinct without intervention.
The main threats to the Spotted Tree Frog are:
- Habitat loss and fragmentation due to clearance of native vegetation
- Weed invasion of streamside habitats, particularly by Blackberry
- Changes to natural water flows and water quality
- Predation of eggs and tadpoles by introduced fish,
- Disease such as the rapidly spreading Amphibian Chytrid Fungus
What's being done?
Efforts to save the species are being supported by a $50,000 grant through the Victorian Government’s Biodiversity On-Ground Action Icon Species Grants program, which funds targeted actions designed to protect and conserve Victoria’s threatened species.
This funding is going towards;
- Mitigating specific threats to Spotted Tree Frog within the Big River Catchment in Victoria by restoring an existing fish barrier which will prevent introduced fish from impacting upon frog populations up-stream.
- Implementing predator control activities to reduce the numbers of introduced fish above the fish barrier.
Conserving Victoria's threatened species requires a collaborative approach. There are a number of organisations and groups working to protect the Spotted Tree Frog, these include:
- The Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) Hume Region
- Zoos Victoria
- Goulburn-Broken Catchment Management Authority
- Amphibian Research Centre
- Department of Environment and Energy
- Parks Victoria
- Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the National Environmental Science Program
- University of Melbourne
Page last updated: 29/06/21