Motorbike Frog

Litoria moorei

Did You Know?

  • Early stage tadpoles sometimes swim in schools
  • 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)
FactBox Image

The motorbike frog is a ground-dwelling tree frog found in Southwest Australia. It gets its name from the male frog's mating call, which sounds like a motorbike riding past and changing gears. Other common names are Moore's frog, the western bell frog, western green and golden bell frog, and western green tree frog.

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 – 7.1 cm, females 5.3 – 7.8 cm.

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.

Listen to the Motorbike Frog call © Dale Roberts

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.

Species: WhatToObserve Image

What to Observe

  • Calling

  • Courting/Mating

  • The appearance of eggs

Species: WhenAndWhere Image

When and Where

When To Look

  • September - April

Where To Look

  • South West Australia, from Murchison river south and east to Pallinup River and inland to Three Springs, Dalwallinu and Lake Dumbleyung
  • A small population is present on Rottnest Island
  • Look and listen around swamps, lakes, dams and backyard ponds and swimming pools
  • Also in permanent water bodies that have lots of vegetation
Species: WhatElse Image

What Else?

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