White-lipped Tree Frog B G Thomson/www.auswildlife.com

White-lipped Tree Frog

Litoria infrafrenata

Did You Know?

  • Its second finger is longer than its first
  • Often accidentally found in shipments of bananas and other produce to southern Australia, but it cannot survive the colder weather there
FactBox Image

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.

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.

Size

11 – 14 cm

Distinctive features

  • 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

Behaviour

Call

A loud, harsh barking sound that resembles a strong repeated tapping or “tonk…tonk…tonk” sound.

Listen to the White-lipped Tree Frog call © Nature Sounds/David Stewart

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!

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What to Observe

  • Calling

  • Courting/Mating

  • The appearance of eggs

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When and Where

When To Look

  • 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
  • Frequently found in houses, especially in drainpipes, toilet cisterns and shower blocks
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What Else?

Similar Species

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