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Distribution and Habitat
Population and Distribution
Litoria rheocola occurs from Broadwater Ck NP to Amos Bay, n. Qld, at altitudes between 0 and 1180 m (McDonald 1992). The area of occupancy of the species is approximately 6000 km2 (M. Cunningham pers. comm.). Three genetic lineages of L. rheocola have been identified, based on mitochondrial DNA, distributed from Kirrama Range to Palmerston NP, Bartle Frere to Harris Park and from Mt Lewis to Big Tableland (Schneider et al. 1998). Each of these lineages carry substantial genetic variability (Schneider et al. 1998). Litoria rheocola was first noted to have declined in 1989 (Richards et al. 1993). In 1990 several sites were sampled between the Kirrama Range and Cooktown, L. rheocola was common at all foothill and lowland sites and was recorded at some upland sites in the Kirrama Range in Apr. and on the Carbine Tableland in Jan. of that year (Richards et al. 1993). The species was abundant in Danbulla SF (700 m) in September 1982, but was not recorded there during monitoring between 1989 and 1992 (Richards et al. 1993). Litoria rheocola has since disappeared from most upland sites south of the Daintree R. (Richards et al. 1993). Richards et al. (1993) reported only two adults at Bobbin Bobbin Falls on the Atherton Tableland, although the species has been found regularly in that area between 1998 and Feb. 2000 (R. Retallick pers. comm.). At O'Keefe Ck, Big Tableland, L. rheocola has occasionally reappeared near a 400 m site, but has not established resident populations and is absent at a 600 m monitoring site (McDonald & Alford 1999). Adults and tadpoles remained common at upland sites north of the Daintree River (Richards et al. 1993) but disappeared in 1993 (M. Cunningham pers. comm.). Interestingly, the lowland populations still exist (McDonald & Alford 1999).
Litoria rheocola is known from Cedar Bay, Crater, Crater Lakes, Daintree, Lumholtz, Millstream and Wooroonooran NP, Herberton Range, Kirrama, Lamb Range, Maalan, Mt Lewis, Ravenshoe, Tam O'Shanter and Windsor Tableland SF, SF758 Alcock, Daintree Timber Reserve (165 Monkhouse) (Tyler 1997), Elizabeth Grant Falls, Palmerston NP (M. Cunningham pers. comm.).Habitat
Litoria rheocola is a rainforest specialist, endemic to the W.T. Bioregion (Williams & Hero 1998; 2001) restricted to fast flowing rocky creeks and streams in rainforest as well as wet sclerophyll forest (Liem 1974; McDonald 1992). Within these streams they are often found in the slower more open sections, away from waterfalls (Hodgkison & Hero in press). Individuals can be found on rocks, logs and vegetation in or adjacent to streams (Hero & Fickling 1994). Hodgkison and Hero (2003) reported differences in habitat use between males and females of the species. Females and juveniles use streamside vegetation more frequently than males. In contrast males displayed strong fidelity to the rocky stream environment.