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  1. 111 Photo by Nicola Mitchell

Motorbike Frog

Litoria moorei

Appearance

  • Colour: Back is green with gold mottling (after basking in sunlight).  Can be almost dark brown in colder conditions. The underside usually ranges from very pale green to light brown.
  • Tadpoles: Large translucent yellow with darker areas. As they develop they become darker with deep fins and a pointed tail tip.
  • Distinctive feature: A dark stripe runs from the snout, over the eye and tympanum (tight membrane covering the entrance to the ear) to the forearm insertion.
  • Size: males 4.7 – 7.1cm, females 5.3 – 7.8cm

Behaviour

  • Call: Has two components.  The first sounds like a long low growl - similar to a motorbike changing gears, the second part sounds like a series of low growls
  • Diet: Mainly arthropods but also smaller frogs same species juveniles.  Tadpole diet is mainly algae
  • Movement: Despite being a tree frog rarely climbs higher than one or two metres.
  • Breeding: Starts in early spring and can continue into summer.  A large number of eggs are laid in clumps attached to floating or slightly submerged vegetation.  Larvae can be found throughout summer.  Metamorphosis is often as late as April.  Tadpoles are dark with deep fins and a pointed tail tip.

What to Observe

  • Calling
  • Courting/mating
  • The appearance of eggs

ClimateWatch Science Advisor

  • We expect frogs to start calling and laying eggs earlier in the year as a result of climate change warming the Earth.
  • They may also start appearing in new areas as warmer temperatures enable them to live in environments that were previously too cold for them.

When To Look

September through to April

Where To Look

  • In Southwest region of WA.
  • From Murchison river south and east to Pallinup River.  Inland to Three Springs, Dalwallinu and Lake Dumbleyung.  A small population is present on Rottnest Island.
  • In permanent water bodies that have lots of vegetation
  • Look and listen around swamps, lakes, dams and backyard ponds and swimming pools.

Motorbike frog distribution map - IUCN Red List

Motorbike frog distribution map - IUCN Red List

Where To Look

Maps of Habitat Suitability

Litoria_moorei-motorbike_frog

Current probability
of occurrence
2070 probability
of occurrence (RCP 8.5)
Species range change from
current to 2070 probability

Above, the left and middle maps show the modelled habitat suitability for the the species under current and potential future climate conditions. The colours indicate the predicted habitat suitability from low (white) to high (dark red).

The future habitat suitability is modelled for the year 2070 under a climate change scenario that represents 'business as usual' (RCP 8.5). The map on the right shows how the range of the species might change between now and 2070, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, green areas where the species range might expand, and blue areas where the habitat is predicted to be suitable for the species now and in the future.

The models for this species were run in the Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory. Please note that while models can be very informative, they are only a representation of the real world and thus should always be viewed with caution. You can read more about the science behind these models here.

Sightings

References

 

Tyler, M. J. & Doughty P. 2009 Field Guide to Frogs of Western Australia Western Australian Museum

 

Bush, B, Maryan, B, Browne-Cooper, R and Robinson, D 2007 Reptiles and Frogs in the Bush: Southwestern Australia University of Western Australia

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  1. What Else?

    Litoria cyclorhyncha: doesn’t have the blue-green colour in its groin, instead it is replaced by bold black and white spots.

  1. Did You Know?

    In mating season the male develops black nuptial pads that enable it to cling to the female’s back during amplexus (a form of pseudocopulation)

    Early stage tadpoles sometimes swim in schools

    Motorbike frog call recording by Dale Stewart, University of Western Australia

  1. Listen to the Call