Growling Grass Frog
The Growling Grass Frog (Litoria raniformis), also commonly known as the Southern Bell Frog, Warty Swamp Frog and erroneously as the Golden Bell Frog, is a species of ground dwelling tree frog is native to South eastern Australia; ranging from southern South Australia along the Murray River though Victoria to New South Wales, and populations through Tasmania. This species common names varies between state, the name Southern Bell Frog applies to New South Wales, Growling Grass Frog in Victoria & South Australia and Green and Gold Frog in Tasmania. This species has been introduced to New Zealand.
The Growling Grass Frog is a very large ground-dwelling tree frog up to 10 cm (almost 4 inches) from snout to vent. It is a mottled bright green and bronze colour above, often with dark brown enameled bumps. It has a pale cream underside, with a faint cobbling pattern. There is a pale stripe running from the side of the head down the flanks as a skin fold. The thighs are blue-green in colour.
There are a series of shallow bumps over its back. This frog closely resembles the Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea), but is distinguished by the shallow bumps on its back, a shorter call and a slightly different head and snout shape. The tympanum is visible in these frogs.
Ecology and behaviour
This species is associated with large swamps, permanent dams, ponds and lakes (particularly ones with reeds) in woodland, shrubland, open and coastal areas.
This frog is an agile climber, but is most often found amongst dense reeds or along swampy grasslands. This frog hunts and basks in the sun during the day. There are reports that Growling Grass frogs will hunt other frogs by zoning in to the sound of their calls.
The call is a three part moaning "Craw-ork ar-ar", rising and then falling in tone. (described as the sound of a duck or goose being strangled).The males develop black rough nuptial pads on their thumbs during the breeding season, which occurs during spring through to late summer. The eggs (up to several thousand) are distributed in a loose pile. These frogs stay in tadpole stage for at least one year.
This frog is believed to be in decline across much of its range. In some regions it has disappeared altogether, however in others it remains locally abundant (such as parts of northern Victoria and the Riverland in South Australia, associated with the Murray River).
- Gillespie et al. (2004). Litoria raniformis. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes a range map, a brief justification of why this species is endangered, and the criteria used
- Walker, S. 2005. FrogSA Presentations.
- Robinson, M. 2002. A Field Guide to Frogs of Australia. Australian Museum/Reed New Holland: Sydney.
- Antsis, M. 2002. Tadpoles of South Eastern Australia
- Frogs of Australia -Frog call available here.
- Frog Australia Network