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An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

  1. 35 White-lipped Tree Frog photo by Michael Mahony

Giant Tree Frog or White-lipped Tree Frog

Litoria infrafrenata

Appearance

  • Colour: ranges from bright green to olive to pale brown, and it can change colour depending on the local temperature and environment. It has a white (occasionally pinkish) stripe on the back of each leg that runs down to its toes, and its belly is white.
  • Distinctive feature: a white stripe that runs along its lower lip and extends below its ear patch to above the base of its arm.
  • Its fingers are half webbed and its toes are fully webbed.
  • It is the largest tree frog in the world and the only one with a white stripe on its lower lip.
  • Size: 11 – 14 cm. 

Behaviour

  • Call: a loud, harsh barking sound that resembles a strong repeated tapping or “tonk…tonk…tonk” sound.
  • Diet: small insects and vertebrates.
  • Movement: agile climbing.
  • Breeding: after rain, males perch high up in the trees surrounding swamps and ponds, and call to attract females. Females lay dumbbell-shaped clumps of about 4,000 eggs! 

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

  • From September to April.
  • Listen for males calling, particularly after heavy rain. 

Where To Look

  • In moist, humid coastal areas from north of Townsville to the Cape York Peninsula in north Queensland, and into the Gulf of Carpentaria.
  • In and around rainforests, swamps, mangroves, seasonal wetlands, forests and heathlands, and also in urban areas.
  • Around paperbark swamps and in leafy suburbs.
  • They are frequently found in houses, especially in drainpipes, toilet cisterns and shower blocks. 

References

Cogger HG 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books, Sydney.

Barker J, Grigg GC and Tyler MJ 1995. A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.

  1. Search Species

  1. What Else?

    Green Tree Frog (Litoria caerulea): is smaller (10cm long) and lacks the white stripe running along its lower lip.

  1. Did You Know?

    It is often accidentally found in shipments of bananas and other produce to southern Australia, but it cannot survive the colder weather there.

    Its second finger is longer than its first!

    The call recording is by David Stewart Naturesound

  1. Listen to the Call

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