Motorbike frog

The motorbike frog (Ranoidea moorei)[3] is a frog well known in Southwest Australia. It is a ground-dwelling tree frog of the family Hylidae, one of only three species of hylids occurring in that region. Its common name comes from the male frog's mating call, which sounds similar to a motorbike changing up through gears; it is also known as Moore's frog,[1][3] the western bell frog, western green and golden bell frog,[4] and western green tree frog.

Motorbike frog
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Pelodryadidae
Genus: Ranoidea
Species:
R. moorei
Binomial name
Ranoidea moorei
(Copland, 1957)
Distribution of Litoria moorei[2]

Description

R. moorei is able to camouflage itself well, and ranges in colour from dark brown, through green, to gold. The underside is noticeably lighter, and usually ranges from very pale green to light brown. The light green of the groin and thigh distinguishes this species from its cogenor, Ranoidea cyclorhynchus, which is darker and spotted with yellow there.

Typical of tree frogs, its toe pads enable it to climb smooth vertical surfaces. Its hind legs are powerful, and the toes are webbed. In mating season, the males develop black nuptial pads that enable them to cling to the females' backs during amplexus. R. moorei can be up to 7.5 cm in length.[3]

The tadpole's body is a uniform dark brown above with a silvery sheen below; initially minute in size, they grow to a very large 80 mm in length.[3] The tadpoles usually hide amongst vegetation, but are easily encouraged out of hiding when food is presented. For most of their time as tadpoles, they crowd together in schools.

Ecology and behaviour

Breeding season is from early spring through to late summer. The male's mating call sounds like a motorbike changing gears. The males usually find a suitable clump of reeds or other water plants from which to call. When a female joins the male in the water, the male grips onto the female's back, using his nuptial pads, that appear during breeding season. Large clumps of eggs, encased in a transparent jelly, are attached to floating vegetation and debris.

Despite being a tree frog, R. moorei seldom climbs higher than 1–2 m, on plants, shrubs, brick walls, or windows.

Their diets consist mainly of arthropods, but also include smaller frogs, including juveniles of the same species. The tadpole's main diet is algae, but they also eat animal matter when available. Tadpoles, like adult frogs, sunbathe for one or two hours each day for healthy growth.

A wide and populous distribution through lakes and swamps has readily incorporated garden ponds and farm dams, where they are often found sunbathing on the upper leaves of plants. They can live without water for extended periods of time.

R. moorei is a member of the Ranoidea aurea complex. Unlike the eastern members of the complex (Ranoidea aurea, R. raniformis and "Litoria" castanea), the motorbike frog has not suffered from dramatic declines, despite chytrid fungus being present in areas which they inhabit.

Distribution

South-west corner of Western Australia,[2][5] from as far north as the Geraldton Sandplains,[6] to the Esperance Plains on the south coast of WA.[7]

A population exists on Rottnest Island.[4]

The species is one of the most well known frogs found in urban Perth areas.[8]

The estimated altitudinal range of the species is from 0–600 m asl.[1]

See also

Green and golden bell frog - closely related[9]

References

  1. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. "Litoria moorei". /www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  2. Black, Dave. "Frogs of Australia > Litoria moorei / Motorbike Frog". frogs.org.au. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  3. "Motorbike Frog". museum.wa.gov.au. Western Australian Museum. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  4. "Backyard Buddies: Motorbike Frogs". fnpw.org.au. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  5. Atlas of Living Australia. "Search: Species: Litoria moorei : Motorbike Frog Occurrence records". bie.ala.org.au. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  6. "Occurrence record: REPT:R96682". Atlas of Living Australia (http://biocache.ala.org.au). Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  7. "Occurrence record: REPT:R64692". Atlas of Living Australia (http://biocache.ala.org.au). Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  8. Michael J. Bamford; Natalia Huang (2009). "The Occurrence and Status of Frogs in the Gnangara Sustainability Strategy Study Area" (PDF). www.water.wa.gov.au. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  9. "The Green and Golden Bell Frog Key Population at Kurnell" (PDF). www.environment.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 27 September 2014.

Further reading

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