Dainty Green Tree Frog, Litoria gracilenta

The Dainty Green Tree Frog (Litoria gracilenta), known also as the Graceful Tree Frog, is a tree frog that is native to eastern Queensland, and north-eastern New South Wales, Australia. It ranges from northern Cape York in Queensland to Gosford in New South Wales, with a small and most likely introduced population in Hornsby Heights in Sydney. It is the faunal emblem of the City of Brisbane.

It is a slender and medium sized frog, reaching a length of 1.8 inches. It features a rich green color on its dorsal surface, with a yellow ventral surface. It has a coarse and granular skin with bright orange eyes; some specimens have a light blue ring following the circumference of the eye. The posterior of the thigh is purple-brown or maroon and the tympanum is visible. In most specimens, a thin yellow or white line runs from its nostril to its eye, and this distinguishes it from the closely related red-eyed tree frog and the orange-thighed frog, both of which lack this line. If this feature is lacking, the granularity of the dorsal surface and size will separate it from both.

The fingers of this tree frog are three-quarters webbed, while the toes are completely webbed.

It is commonly found in vegetation emerging from the water in streams and swamps, often in temporary water. It can be found in a range of habitats, including forest, woodland and forest. It is commonly found near human developments, in gardens or in farms. Because of its common occurrence on fruit and vegetable farms, especially bananas, it is commonly transported around Australia with vegetables or fruits, frequently becoming a lost frog. This is common among many frog species, and is of concern because of the much faster rate at which it can spread disease.

This species is normally seen after heavy rain during the spring and the summer. It breeds in flooded grassland and ponds of small size.

The males will call during the summer after the rain, and the call is a long “waa” or “wee”. Others described the call as a long and growl-like “aarrrc” which is repeated frequently. The males create noisy choruses during the summer breeding season. The eggs are laid in a clear and jelly like lump in the water, and are attached to vegetation. Tadpole development takes about fourteen weeks. The tadpoles are a dark brown color, with a clear and yellow tinge on the body wall.

Image Caption: I took this photo of the frog last Monday night as it was calling on a shelf beside my bed where I live in the bush 25 km west Cooktown in far north Queensland, Australia. Credit: John Hill/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)