Western Victoria is home to quite a few different frog species. Frogs are one of the iconic groups of native animals in the landscape of the Fiery and Salt Creek catchments. They can appear to be absent for months during drought periods, then quickly reappear when there is a hint of rain. Their numbers can build up in swamps during wet years. At those times the calls of thousands of individuals, of several different species all merge to become a continuous wall of sound. Click here to hear how a swamp full of frogs sounds:
What happens to the frogs during dry years? It is adult frogs that survive from one wet period to the next. They need to keep damp even when the surrounding land is hot and dry. The black wetland soils form cracks as they dry, and it is likely that many of the surviving frogs are down at the base of the cracks, perhaps half a metre below the surface. Down there they remain from protected, even from heatwave and grassfire conditions.
Which species do we have?
A recent study (2017) was carried out in our catchment to investigate more detail about our frog species and where they are living in the landscape. This was an Honours thesis by Samantha Wallace, in a collaborative project between Deakin University and the BBCAG. An overview describing that project can be found here (pdf). The five species that commonly occured in the Lake Bolac district during that season were;
common eastern froglet (Crinia signifera),
spotted marsh frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis),
southern brown tree frog (Litoria ewingii),
common spadefoot toad (Neobatrachus sudelli), and
pobblebonk (Limnodymastes dumerilii)
There are a number of good sources of information about the species and characteristics of the frogs that live in our district. Several of them are described below.
The frogs.org.au site has detailed descriptions of the species of frogs in Australia. They have state and regional distribution sections that show which species occur across western Victoria. This site has breeding and life cycle information for each species. There are also multiple photos of different frogs within each species. This is very useful, as the markings and colouring can vary between individual frogs.
The Australian Museum runs an Australia wide frog identification program and website. The FrogID phone app helps with identifying species from their sounds.These recorded calls are very useful for comparison when you are trying to work out which species it is that you can hear outside.
Would you like to help build knowlege of frogs from your local area?
The FrogID app is easy to use, and guides you through recording and submitting frog observations. Verified identifications are then added to the Australian map data.
This very handy booklet was produced by the Glenelg Hopkins CMA. It has two pages on each of 13 frog species that live across the GHCMA region. The information for each species includes a photo, distribution map, and description notes.