Overview

Distribution

Range Description

There are three separate populations of this species in Australia. One in the central arid zone of Western Australia from Winning Pool east to Lake Disappointment and south to Morawa and Laverton. There is a small area in the northeastern Northern Territory. These regions are very flat so the species is known only from low elevations. Another large area extends from northern South Australia into New South Wales and southwestern Queensland; including southeastern Northern Territory.
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Distribution and Habitat

There are three separate populations. One in the central arid zone of Western Australia from Winning Pool east to Lake Disappointment and south to Morawa and Laverton. There is a small area in the north-western corner of the Northern Territory. Another large area extends from northern South Australia into New South Wales and south-western Queensland. The extent of occurrence of the species is approximately 1645500 km2.Widely dispersed in habitat.

  • Barker, J., Grigg, G. C., and Tyler, M. J. (1995). A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty and Sons, New South Wales.
  • Tyler, M.J., Smith, L.A., and Johnstone, R.E. (1994). Frogs of Western Australia. Western Australian Museum, Perth.
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Geographic Range

Litoria platycephala occupies the southern arid regions of Australia.

Biogeographic Regions: australian (Native )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

The water-holding frog is characterized by a broad, flat head, completely webbed toes, and a stout body which is usually dull gray to dark brown or green. They also have small eyes that are placed somewhat laterally and forward-directed, enhancing vision downward and binocular perspective (Cogger and Zweifel 1998). The water-holding frog can also be characterized by its distinct call of a long drawn out "mawww, mawww". The male frogs range in size from 42-64mm, where the females range from 50-72mm (S. Australian Frogcensus 1999).

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This species is found in grasslands, temporary swamps, clay pans and billabongs in arid and semi-arid areas and is usually associated with clay soils. It is able to survive extended dry periods (months to years) in aestivation underground. Spawn is laid in large masses of up to 500 eggs in temporary pools and static waters such as those that occur during flooding; larvae are free-swimming.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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The water-holding frog prefers to live in grasslands, temporary swamps, claypans, and billibongs. Their distribution is limited to southern Australia (S. Australian Frogcensus 1999).

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

Aquatic Biomes: rivers and streams

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Litoria platycephala prefers to eat a diet consisting mainly of insects and small fish. The water-holding frog has the rare ability to catch their prey underwater. They do this by using their strong, muscular attributes and lunging at their prey, stuffing it in their mouths.

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

The water-holding frog only emerges from deep underground after it rains to breed. It lays large amounts of spawn in still water after floods. Some eggs may be attached to vegetation, or spread in a thin film on the surface, thus ensuring adequate oxygen in warm waters suffering from oxygen depletion (Cogger and Zweifel 1998). Tadpoles of the water-holding frog can reach a maximum length of 60mm (S. Australian Frogcensus 1999).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2004

Assessor/s
Jean-Marc Hero, John Clarke, Ed Meyer, Richard Retallick, Paul Horner, Dale Roberts

Reviewer/s
Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson and Neil Cox)

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.

History
  • 2002
    Least Concern
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CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population
This species is commonly sighted.

Population Trend
Stable
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Grasslands, temporary swamps, claypans and billabongs across diverse country and including areas of impervious soil. It survives dry conditions by its ability to burrow up to 1m underground and store water.Spawn is laid in large masses of up to 500 eggs in temporary pools and static waters such as those that occur during flooding.

  • Barker, J., Grigg, G. C., and Tyler, M. J. (1995). A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty and Sons, New South Wales.
  • Tyler, M.J., Smith, L.A., and Johnstone, R.E. (1994). Frogs of Western Australia. Western Australian Museum, Perth.
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Threats

Major Threats
Is likely to have suffered habitat loss/disturbance as a result of agro-industry farming; and might also be affected by secondary salinity associated with land clearing.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Commonly sighted. No known declines and large extent of occurrence.

Threats
None known.

Conservation Measures
None in place.

  • Barker, J., Grigg, G. C., and Tyler, M. J. (1995). A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty and Sons, New South Wales.
  • Tyler, M.J., Smith, L.A., and Johnstone, R.E. (1994). Frogs of Western Australia. Western Australian Museum, Perth.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The range of the species most likely overlaps at least one protected area, but this is not confirmed.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Because of their unique and unusual ability to retain large amounts of water, the water-holding frog has become the best example of a burrowing frog traditionally used by the Aboriginies. As the water is stored in the bladder or in the pockets of skin, a slight pressure applied by hand causes the frog to release water. The Aboriginal people dig up Litoria platycephala and enjoy the resource this frog has to offer. This water is very fresh and after the Aboriginies drink, the frog is released unharmed (S. Australian Frogcensus 1999).

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Wikipedia

Litoria platycephala

Cyclorana platycephala (formerly Litoria platycephala), the water-holding frog, is a frog common to most Australian states. It differs from most other members of the Hylidae family as a ground dweller and the ability to aestivate.

Description[edit]

The species has populations spread across all the Australian states except Victoria and Tasmania.[1] It occupies a wide range of habitat from forests of tropical swamp to intermittent pools and lowland grass country; all habitat is assumed to be of a low elevation. Populations are assumed to be large from frequent reports and a broad range.[1] This range is assumed to overlap with National parks, but research has not been undertaken into the ecology and biology of the species.[2] It buries itself in sandy ground in a secreted, water-tight, mucus cocoon with its external skin during periods of hot, dry weather. For additional nutrition and to save energy, the frog eats the external skin.[3] It has been known to burrow to depths of up to 1 meter.[4]

The water-holding frog is characterized by a broad, flat head, completely webbed toes, and a stout body which is usually dull gray to dark brown or green. They also have small eyes that are placed somewhat laterally and forward-directed, enhancing vision downward and binocular perspective (Cogger and Zweifel 1998)[5]

Reproduction[edit]

The water-holding frog only emerges from deep underground after it rains to breed. It lays large amounts of spawn in still water after floods. Some eggs may be attached to vegetation, or spread in a thin film on the surface, thus ensuring adequate oxygen in warm waters suffering from oxygen depletion (Cogger and Zweifel 1998). Tadpoles of the water-holding frog can reach a maximum length of 60mm (S. Australian Frogcensus 1999).[6]

Human interaction[edit]

Australian Aborigines discovered a means to take advantage of this ability by digging up one of these frogs and gently squeezing it, causing the frog to release some of the fresh water it stores for itself in its bladder and skin pockets. This water can be consumed by the Aborigine, who then releases the frog.[7] [8]

Threatened status[edit]

No threats have been identified, research into the extent of habitat loss through land clearing and the associated salinity is yet to be undertaken. The species is given Least Concern status at the IUCN Red List [Red List link] due to a wide range and large population.

Further reading[edit]

  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, Sixth Edition. Reed New Holland, New South Wales.
  • [9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Jean-Marc Hero, John Clarke, Ed Meyer, Richard Retallick, Paul Horner, Dale Roberts (2004). "Litoria platycephala". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Hero, Jean-Marc. "Litoria platycephala". Litoria platycephala. IUCN 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Litoria platycephala — Details Water-holding Frog". Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  4. ^ Tyler, M.J., Slack-Smith, Shirley (2012). Field Guide to Frogs of Western Australia. Perth: Western Australia Museum. p. 164. ISBN 9781920843915. 
  5. ^ "Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians: A Comprehensive Illustrated Guide by International Experts.". 
  6. ^ http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Litoria_platycephala/. Retrieved 26 September 2013.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Kierzek, Megan. "Litoria platycephala". Animal Diversity Web. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Vanderduys (2012). Field guide to the frogs of queensland. Melbourne: CSIRO PUBLISHING. 
  9. ^ "Litoria platycephala". Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  • Hero, J M; et al. (2002-04-05). "Cyclorana platycephala Water-holding Frog". AmphibiaWeb. Berkeley (The Regents of the University of California). Retrieved 2007-04-07. "There are three separate populations. One in the central arid zone of Western Australia from Winning Pool east to Lake Disappointment and south to Morawa and Laverton. There is a small area in the north-western corner of the Northern Territory. Another large area extends from northern South Australia into New South Wales and south-western Queensland. The extent of occurrence of the species is approximately 1645500 km². Widely dispersed in habitat." 
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