Australian Red-Eyed Tree Frog Fact File

Litoria chloris

Weight

Insufficient

Data

Length

68mm

(2.7in)

LIFESPAN

Wild – Unknown

Captive – 16 years

DIET

Carnivore

Insects

conservation status

IUCN

Lest Concern

Look at Those Eyes!

The Australian red-eyed tree frog takes its name from the large red eyes with a horizontal black pupil which protrude prominently from the face.

These frogs make their home in northern areas of Australia, specifically close to the eastern coastline.

Breeding takes place following a period of heavy rain when the small pools in which they will deposit their eggs have been created.

Habitat loss through logging is impacting survival.

Appearance

What does an Australian Red-Eyed Tree Frog look like?

Australian red-eyed tree frogs have bright green skin on the back with a light yellow underside. Along the thigh is a streak of purple while some individuals have a pattern of light colored spots along the back.

The eyes are orange at the centre moving to red on the outside. Their pupil is horizontal and colored black. Their tympanum (visible eardrum) is easily seen as a large circle on the side of the head.

They have the ability to change their skin colour to match the environment they are in.

This species will reach lengths of up to 68mm (2.7in) long. Females are slightly larger than males.

Adaptations

How does the Australian Red-Eyed Tree Frog survive in its habitat?


Their toes each end with a small pad. On the front feet three quarters of the toes are webbed while the back legs are fully webbed. As a result of this adaptation they can grab on to smooth surfaces and climb up.

When sleeping they will camouflage by closing their eyes to hide their large red iris. If surprised while asleep they wake and quickly show their bright eyes which may frighten the predator.

Australian Red-Eyed Tree Frog Diet

What does this species eat?

Australian red-eyed tree frogs are insectivores which feed on a range of invertebrates such as moths.

Range

Where do you the find the Australian Red-Eyed Tree Frog?

Australia is the native home of this frog. They occur down the east coast from the middle of Queensland around Prosperine down to Gosford to the north of Sydney, the capital of New South Wales.

Further research must be conducted to determine if the population South of Sydney is naturally occurring or the result of a human introduction.

Habitat

Where can an Australian Red-Eyed Tree Frog survive?

They make their home in the riparian zones, flooded grasslands rainforest, woodlands and wet sclerophyll forests.

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Reproduction

How does an Australian Red-Eyed Tree Frog produce its young?

Breeding takes place between October and February. This period follows the heavy rains in their territory which create the shallow pools necessary for them to breed.

At this time a male will sit in one of these shallow pools and call to attract a female.

Following a successful mating the female lays her jelly like eggs in a mat on a pool of water. A mother will attach her eggs to a piece of vegetation to prevent it sinking. Each clutch contains an average of 500 eggs with a female able to lay up to five clutches a year. Large clutches can include as many as 1,350 eggs. Finally 3 days after egg laying froglets will begin to emerge.

The tadpoles which hatch from these eggs are light brown with a gold or grey stripe and can grow up to 7.4cm (2.9in) long. The average ambient temperature will influence the amount of time required for them to metamorphose. When the average temperature is 27 degrees Celsius it will take roughly 41 days.

Between the age of 2 and 3 they will reach sexual maturity.

Australian Red-Eyed Tree Frog Behaviour

What does this frog do during its day?

A loud series of ‘waaarks’ which are followed by a trill make up the primary call of an Australian red-eyed tree frog. Larger males produce a longer trill. As a result this call serves to advertise their larger size and attempt to warn away any smaller males that may try to compete with them for females.

This species is primarily arboreal only descending from the trees to breed making them difficult to find in the wild. Breeding typically occurs following a period of heavy rain.

As a nocturnal species, Australian red-eyed tree frogs will mate and feed during the night.

Predators and Threats

What stops the Australian Red-Eyed Tree Frog from surviving and thriving?

Natural predators of the Australian red-eyed tree frog include a range of mammals, reptiles and birds. For example a confirmed predator is the rough-scaled snake.

Competition with the introduced cane toad may impact this species. Following their introdction in the north of the range this species is gradually moving south. Introduced feral cats will also prey on this species.

Scientists have observed them becoming stuck in the secretions of slugs. Should this occur the frog is at greater risk of predation and it may also succumb to dehydration while stuck.

Scientists report no large decline in population and consider the species common. Habitat loss, primarily for logging has impacted populations. Further impacting their survival is regular fire events across the range.

An emerging threat is the disease, Chytridiomycosis which is affecting a number of amphibian species globally.

Quick facts

Recent research has split the Australian red-eyed tree frog (Litoria xanthomera) from the northern red-eyed tree frog. It is possible to tell them apart as the Australian has a purple inner thigh whereas it is orange in the northern.

Studies to test antibiotic peptides and water loss through evaporation have made use of these frogs. Studies have determined that they produce antimicrobial peptides in their skin secretions which may inhibit diseases such as HIV.

Alternative names include the southern orange-eyed tree frog, red-eyed green tree frog or the red-eyed tree frog.

Coming from the Latin spelling of the Greek word, khloros, Chloris, the species name roughly translates to English as ‘green’

The collective name for a group of frogs is a knot.

References

Eipper, S. and Rowland, P. (2018) A naturalist’s guide to the frogs of australia. Oxford, England: John Beaufoy Publishing.

Flack, D. (2012) “PDF.” Richmond: WSI Richmond.

Woinarski, J.C.Z. et.al (2020) “PDF.” Australia : CSIRO.

Perth, Z. (no date) “PDF.” Perth: Perth Zoo.

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2022. Litoria chlorisThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2022: e.T41083A78447769. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2022-2.RLTS.T41083A78447769.en. Accessed on 17 January 2023.

Periat, J. 2000. “Litoria chloris” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed June 05, 2022 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Litoria_chloris/

AmphibiaWeb 2008 Litoria chloris: Red-eyed Tree Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/1230> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jan 15, 2023.

c=AU; o=The State of Queensland; ou=Department of Environment and Science; ou=Corporate Communications (2022) Species profile: Environment, land and water, Environment, land and water | Queensland Government. corporateName=The State of Queensland; jurisdiction=Queensland. Available at: https://apps.des.qld.gov.au/species-search/details/?id=628 (Accessed: January 17, 2023).

McCall, H. (2020) Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris), McCall Wildlife Photography. Available at: https://www.mccallwildlifephotography.com/frogs/litoria-chloris/ (Accessed: January 18, 2023).

Sullivan, R. (2012) Frogs hit high notes to ward off competition, ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/10/08/3606196.htm (Accessed: January 18, 2023).

The Aussie slug that can superglue its predators for days (2019) The University of Newcastle, Australia. Available at: https://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/faculty-of-science/highlights-grants-and-impact/the-aussie-slug-that-can-superglue-its-predators-for-days (Accessed: January 18, 2023).

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