Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog, Litoria fallax

The Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog (Litoria fallax) is a small and very common tree frog located on the eastern coast of Australia, from around Cairns, Queensland, to around Ulladulla, New South Wales. Individuals of this species are often found somewhere else, having been accidentally relocated by transported fruit boxes. Confirmed sightings of breeding pairs have confirmed their survival in Victoria’s cooler climate.

This is a small species; the females can reach a maximum size of 25 to 30 millimeters, while the males may only reach 20 millimeters when they are fully grown. It is of variable color, depending on the temperature and the color of the surrounding environment, ranging from fawn to light green on top, and sometimes has black flecks on its back. A white line begins under the eye, and joins the white stomach. A brown line starts from the nostril, and continues across the eye, and between the green and white sections on the top and bottom of the body. This species toe discs are only slightly larger than the toes, and the toes are 75 percent webbed. Some individuals will have an orange posterior thigh.

This frog is associated with a wide variety of habitats, including coastal swamps, lagoons, dams, ditches, and garden ponds in forest, heathland, wallum country, and cleared farmland. It resides in reeds and similar plants both near and far away from the water, and often inhabits banana trees in the northern areas of Australia, and are sometimes shipped with the bananas throughout Australia. They are known in Australia for becoming lost frogs by turning up in fruit shops outside of their normal range.

From snout to vent, this frog measures about 15 to 25 millimeters. The tadpoles are bigger than the adult frogs, with a size of 30 millimeters.

Breeding takes place at small ponds or dams, which have ample reeds or other emergent vegetation. This species will frequently breed in temporary water. Its call is a short and high pitched wr-e-e-ek ip-ip, repeated three or four times. They call from a single submandibular vocal sac. The males call during the spring and summer season, frequently before and after heavy rain.

About 200 to 300 eggs are laid at each amplexus, and clumps of spawn are made up of 35 eggs. The minimum tadpole’s lifespan is 118 days. Metamorphosis takes place from January to March, the metamorphs resemble the adult and are very small, measuring only 9 to 13 millimeters long.

Image Caption: Litoria fallax. Credit: LiquidGhoul/Wikipedia