The green tree frog is a large frog with blueish-green or green skin on their back. Some frogs have white spots on the back. Their underside is white. Along the back of the thigh the skin can be yellow or maroon. Their color can change in shade slightly.
On rare occasions there have been blue individuals due to a lack of yellow pigment or a yellow individual due to a lack of blue pigment in the skin.
Their skin produces a waxy substance that prevents the evaporation of water.
They have loose folded skin which can be used to absorb large amounts of water quickly. These skin folds make them adaptable to the dry conditions in Australia.
Their name comes from the ability to climb trees. This is assisted by the adhesive discs which are located on the toes. The toes have webbing between them.
Behind the head sit a pair of parotid glands which are large bumps behind the eyes. These eyes are colored gold on the iris with a black, horizontal pupil.
They measure 5-10cm (2-4in) long and weigh 120g (4.2oz). Males are slightly smaller than females.
Captive 16-20 years
Green tree frogs can be found across Australia and the southern portion of the island of New Guinea where they live in both the Indonesian and Papua New Guinea sections of the island.
In Australia they live mostly in the north of the country across Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales.
Naturally they are found in forests, woodlands, wetlands, grasslands and heath where there is water nearby.
With the expansion of human habitations green tree frogs have proven highly adaptable. They have been found in backyards, letterboxes, toilets and shower blocks.
Breeding takes place during Spring and Summer. Pairs will only come together to mate. Males make their loud call to attract the females to come mate with them. A sac under the throat helps to amplify this call.
Following a successful mating the female will deposit 2-3,000 eggs in to a body of still water.
These eggs hatch in to tadpoles. They will spend the next 4-6 weeks as a tadpole swimming in the water before the metamorphose and grow legs to become a frog.
Green tree frogs are brown in color with some mottling and will grow up to 100mm (3.9in).
Green tree frogs make a vocalization which sounds like ‘crawk, crawk, crawk.’ Only males make this vocalization. Both genders can make a high pitched scream which is used to startle predators and may help them avoid being eaten.
They are primarily active by night and spend their days hidden away in a tree hollow or other enclosed space.
Predators and Threats
They face predation from snakes and birds. With the introduction of dogs and cats to Australia they have become a predator of the green tree frog.
Humans affect their population through habitat destruction such as filling in swamps. They also pollute their remaining habitat.
Chrytid fungus has also been introduced to Australia and affects the green tree frog. This fungus causes the death of the frog if it infects them.
In some parts of their range the green tree frog is collected for the pet trade.
Green tree frogs haven proven helpful to science for a number of reasons. One is that their skin provides anti-bacterial and anti-viral compounds. They also produce a compound which has been used to treat high blood pressure.
The caerulea portion of their scientific name means blue. This is a result of the first specimen that was sent to Europe discoloring during transport and appearing blue on arrival.
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By Bidgee - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4201298
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Frogwatchsa.com.au. 2020. Litoria Caerulea (Green Tree Frog) -- Species Details | Frogwatch SA. [online] Available at: <http://www.frogwatchsa.com.au/species/view/5> [Accessed 4 August 2020].
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