Cascade Tree-frog (Litoria pearsoniana)
Amphibians play a crucial role as bioindicators due to their high sensitivity to environmental changes, offering valuable insights into ecosystem health (Defenders of Wildlife, 2023).
The Cascade Tree-frog (Litoria pearsoniana) is a fascinating amphibian species found in the rainforest gullies and wet sclerophyll forests of north-eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland (Rowland, 2013). This small tree-frog chooses to inhabit lowland flowing streams and ponds, where it spends a significant amount of time (Rowland, 2013).
One of the notable characteristics of the Cascade Tree-frog is its distinct three-note call, which it emits during the breeding season. This breeding season typically occurs in the warmer months, and the frog’s call can often be heard echoing through the night (Rowland, 2013). Isn’t it a wonderful sound to hear frogs calling at night, knowing that they’re out there and that your local waterways are likely, therefore, in good shape!
However, the reproductive success of this species heavily relies on the availability of suitable habitats for its tadpoles. The Cascade Tree-frog tadpoles require a substantial lowland stream that can retain water for an extended period, allowing them enough time to develop into adult frogs (Parris, 2001). It also needs low levels of pollution, sedimentation and disturbance, which is sadly pretty hard to come by these days along Australia’s very urbanised coastal lowlands.
Like all animals, the Cascade Tree-frog encounters a wide range of threats that render it onto the Vulnerable list of threatened species in Queensland (Atlas of Living Australia, 2023). Urban development, habitat fragmentation and isolation, pollution, livestock farming, and invasive species pose significant risks to this species, which also sees it as recognised globally as a threatened animal by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN Red List, 2021).
Habitat fragmentation hinders the frogs’ dispersal and ability to locate potential mates and breeding sites, challenging their survival and reproduction (IUCN Red List, 2021). Pollution directly impacts the reproduction and development of the Cascade Tree-frog, causing detrimental effects on their overall reproductive success and growth (IUCN Red List, 2021). Livestock farming contributes to habitat loss and introduces harmful substances into the frogs’ environment, compromising their well-being and survival (IUCN Red List, 2021). Invasive species, conversely, engage in predation and compete with the Cascade Tree-frog and other species for essential resources such as habitat and food, disrupting the ecosystem’s natural balance (IUCN Red List, 2021). Addressing these threats and implementing effective conservation measures are crucial to safeguard the Cascade Tree-frog and ensure the long-term sustainability of this species.
Why not give your garden a frog-friendly blitz by heading around and checking for notorious Cane Toads (Rhinella marina) and removing them by boxing them in a big plastic tub, refrigerating them to chill them down and then freezing them to kill them. You could also reduce the impact Cane Toads have on your local native frogs by designing your ponds to be at least 40cm high off the ground (Cane Toads can’t jump that high!) and/or surrounded by thick native vegetation that deters Cane Toads from access. Choose species like lovely Carex appressa, Juncus usitatus, Cissus antarctica, Lomandra hystrix and Dianella caerulea to pack out your pond edges and give your lovely native frogs, a helping hop!
Atlas of Living Australia. (2023). Species: Litoria pearsoniana (Cascade Treefrog). Bie.ala.org.au. Retrieved May 19, 2023, from https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://biodiversity.org.au/afd/taxa/7977b376-73b5-4725-b70a-88fb401a03bf
Defenders of Wildlife. (2023). Amphibians. Defenders of Wildlife. https://defenders.org/wildlife/amphibians#:~:text=Amphibians%2C%20like%20frogs%2C%20toads%20and
IUCN Red List. (2021, April 30). IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Litoria pearsoniana. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species; Name. https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/200996217/78435040
Parris, K. M. (2001). Distribution, habitat requirements and conservation of the cascade treefrog (Litoria pearsoniana, Anura: Hylidae). Biological Conservation, 99(3), 285–292. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0006-3207(00)00194-4
Rowland, J. (2013). Cascade treefrog, Litoria pearsoniana. Target species survey guidelines. Brisbane: Queensland Herbarium, Department of Environment and Science.
Jump into Action!
Get involved in your local Bioblitz. So what is a Bioblitz, you ask? Well, it is a 24 hour rapid survey of a natural area to determine the tapestry of living things that occupy that space. Watch the above episode of ‘Back from the Brink’ to learn more about how you can take part in the bioblitz program and you too could discover hidden populations of rare frogs.
For more information on the Gold Coast Bioblitz Program, see: www.goldcoastcatchments.org/gold-coast-bioblitz
Find out more about threatened and endangered species on our Action Hub!