The motorbike frog (Ranoidea moorei) 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, the western bell frog, western green and golden bell frog, and western green tree frog.
|Scientific classification |
|Distribution of Litoria moorei|
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.
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. 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.
A population exists on Rottnest Island.
The species is one of the most well known frogs found in urban Perth areas.
Green and golden bell frog - closely related
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- "Frogs of Australia > Litoria moorei / Motorbike Frog". Retrieved 28 August 2006.