Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Critically Endangered
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria lorica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007a) [Listing Advice].
 
APPROVED Conservation Advice on Litoria lorica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007d) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan].
 
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat Abatement Plan for Predation, Habitat Degradation, Competition and Disease Transmission by Feral Pigs (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2005p) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
Threat Abatement Plan for infection of amphibians with chytrid fungus resulting in chytridiomycosis (Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006o) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
Policy Statements and Guidelines Survey Guidelines for Australia's Threatened Frogs. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.3 (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2010h) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
 
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (51) (09/01/2007) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007g) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Listing Status
QLD: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Queensland): May 2014 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Critically Endangered (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Litoria lorica [1841]
Family Hylidae:Anura:Amphibia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Davies and McDonald,1979
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Litoria lorica

Common name: Armoured Mistfrog

The Armoured Mistfrog is a medium sized frog. Males grow to 29.6 - 33.1 mm and females grow to 32.9 - 37.3 mm (Davies & McDonald 1979). The species is a uniform grey or grey-brown frog with white ventral surfaces peppered with dark brown on the throat (Cogger 2000). The skin is finely tubercular dorsally, prominently so on the upper eyelids and in the tympanic region. The lower surfaces are granular on the thorax, abdomen and backs of the thighs, but smooth elsewhere. The finger and toe discs are well developed. The fingers have basal webbing and the toes are fully webbed. The hands have an enlarged prepollex. Males have black spiny nuptial pads and accessory spines on the chest. The head is evenly rounded, with a truncate snout and terminal nostrils. The tympanum is small and indistinct. The vocal sac is absent (Davies and McDonald 1979).

The call is unknown (NQTFRT 2001).

The Armoured Mistfrog occurs in north-east Queensland where a single population is restricted to 4 km of stream habitat with a total population size of 500-1000 (Hoskin & Puschendorf 2013). The population was discovered in 2008 and occurs on the Carbine Tablelands, which is well outside the historic range of the species (JCU 2008). Prior to the discovery of this population, the species had not been seen since 1994 (Hero et al. 1998, 2001; Ingram & McDonald 1993). In 2013, surveys of potential habitat and all historic sites confirmed that there is a single known population (Hoskin & Puschendorf 2013).

The Armoured Mistfrog was first located in 1976 and later described by Davies and McDonald (1979). Historic collections have been made from upland sites in north-east Queensland, three on the Thorton Massif (Alexandra Creek (Timber Reserve 165); Hilda Creek (near Thornton Peak, Cape Tribulation National Park); Roaring Meg Cascades (via Mt Sorrow Timber Reserve 165)) and from one site on the Carbine Tableland (Bluff Creek, Mossman Gorge, Daintree National Park) (Cunningham 2002; Hero & Fickling 1994).

The historical extent of occurrence of the Armoured Mistfrog was approximately 120 km² (Cunningham 2002), but it is now limited to 4 km of a single stream (Hoskin & Puschendorf 2013).

The Armoured Mistfrog is a rainforest species endemic to the Wet Tropics Bioregion (Williams & Hero 1998, 2001). A stream dwelling/stream breeding species (Hero & Fickling 1994), it prefers fast flowing streams in upland rainforest between 640 and 1000 m altitude (McDonald 1992), although it may have been present at lower altitudes (Cunningham 2001, pers. comm.). It has usually been found on granite boulders in notophyll vine forest in the splash zone near turbulent fast flowing water (Davies & McDonald 1979).

No information on breeding season, timing of reproduction or egg deposition sites is available. The tadpoles of the species have not been described but are thought to be torrent adapted and similar to that of a sympatric species, Litoria nannotis (Davies & McDonald 1979). Unpigmented eggs, 163 (Cunningham unpublished) were presumably laid in water under rocks in the stream (Cunningham 2001, pers. comm.).

There is little information available on the species, (only observed on four occasions) but ecological similarity to L. nannotis would suggest similar movement patterns generally confined to the stream environment (Cunningham 2001, pers. comm.).

The only method that has successfully been used in the past to survey the Armoured Mistfrog is a visual encounter survey (UC 2003).

The call and larval period of the Armoured Mistfrog is unknown (Davies and McDonald 1979; McDonald 1992). However, it is known that when active, the frog can be found in splash zones near waterfalls and cascades (Davies and McDonald 1979). Note that this species has not been observed since 1994 (Hero et al. 1998, 2001; Ingram & McDonald 1993).

The reason(s) for the decline of the Armoured Mistfrog are unknown. The habitat of the species in the Wet Tropics has been protected since 1988, therefore habitat destruction is no longer a threat (McDonald & Alford 1999). There has been repeated speculation that UV-B light has caused declines, but there is no evidence to support this and it is now considered unlikely as a hypothesis (NQTFRT 2001). Current research is examining the possibility that disease, such as chytridiomycosis caused by the chytrid fungus or a viral infection, may have contributed to the decline of this species (Berger et al. 1999), and there is considerable circumstantial evidence to support this hypothesis (NQTFRT 2001). However, in 2008, a healthy population of the Armoured Mistrog was located in Far North Queensland, co-existing with a population of the Waterfall Frog, another species that is thought to have declined due to the fungus. All frogs of both species are in good health, although most individuals are infected wwith the chytrid fungus (JCU 2008).

Chytridiomycosis is an infectious disease affecting amphibians worldwide. The disease has been recorded in four regions of Australia, namely the east coast, south-west Western Australia, Adelaide, and more recently Tasmania. This highly virulent fungal pathogen of amphibians is capable at the minimum of causing sporadic deaths in some populations, and 100 per cent mortality in other populations (AGDEH 2006o).

Recovery Plan

The Stream-dwelling Rainforest Frogs of the Wet Tropics Biogeographic Region of North-east Queensland Recovery Plan 2000-2004 identifies the following recovery objectives and actions for several frog species, including the Armoured Mistfrog:

Specific objectives

    1. Establish the continued existence of populations of T. acutirostris, T. rheophilus, L. lorica and L. nyakalensis.
    2. Secure the existing populations of all extant species.
    3. Identify and reduce or eliminate the major threatening process(es).
    4. Increase the number of stable populations of all extant species by expansion into their former ranges.
    5. Ensure that frog conservation is incorporated into all appropriate land management decisions by raising the awareness of the declining frog problem within all levels of government and the general community.

Recovery actions

    1. Assess and monitor populations.
    2. Investigate disease as a threatening factor.
    3. Translocate and reintroduce species on an adaptive management basis.
    4. Clarify the needs of the species.
    5. Inform and involve the public in the recovery of species.
    6. Ensure frog needs are considered in relevant land management decisions.

Proposed actions

A 2013 translocation proposal was depeveloped to establish a second population (Hoskin & Puschendorf 2013).

The Stream-dwelling Rainforest Frogs of the Wet Tropics Biogeographic Region of North-east Queensland Recovery Plan 2000-2004 outlines recovery actions and objectives for this and other rainforest frog species (NQTFRT 2001).

The Department of the Environment and Heritage has developed a threat abatement plan which aims to :

  • Prevent amphibian populations or regions that are currently chytridiomycosis-free from becoming infected by preventing further spread of the amphibian chytrid within Australia,
  • Decrease the impact of infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus on populations that are currently infected.

The Threat Abatement Plan for infection of amphibians with chytrid fungus resulting in chytridiomycosis can be found at http://www.deh.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/chytrid/index.html

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Temperature Extremes:climate change Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria lorica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007a) [Listing Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria lorica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007a) [Listing Advice].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria lorica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007a) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Rhinella marina (Cane Toad) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria lorica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007a) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Sus scrofa (Pig) Declines in populations of Australia's endemic tropical rainforest frogs. Pacific Conservation Biology. 1:66-77. (Richards, S.J., K.R. McDonald & R.A. Alford, 1993) [Journal].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Introduction of pathogens and resultant disease Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria lorica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007a) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Predation, competition, habitat degradation and/or spread of pathogens by introduced species Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria lorica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007a) [Listing Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Presence of pathogens and resulting disease Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria lorica (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2007a) [Listing Advice].
Transportation and Service Corridors:Utility and Service Lines:Powerline easement maintenance and construction; mortality due to collision with powerlines Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan].
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004 (Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT), 2001) [Recovery Plan].

Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) (2008). 'Extinct' frog found near Cairns. [Online]. Available from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/09/12/2362564.htm?section=justin.

Berger, L., R. Speare & A. Hyatt (1999). Chytrid fungi and amphibian declines: overview, implications and future directions. In: Campbell, A., ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Page(s) 23-33. [Online]. Canberra: Environment Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/frogs.html.

Cogger, H.G. (2000). Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia - 6th edition. Sydney, NSW: Reed New Holland.

Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) (2006o). Threat Abatement Plan for infection of amphibians with chytrid fungus resulting in chytridiomycosis. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/chytrid.html.

Cunningham, M. (2001). Personal communication.

Cunningham, M. (2002). Identification and evolution of Australian Torrent Treefrogs (Anura:Hylidae:Litoria nannotis group). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum. 48(1):93-102.

Davies, M. & K.R. McDonald (1979). A new species of stream-dwelling hylid frog from northern Queensland. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia. 103:169-176.

Hero, J-M., H.B. Hines, E. Meyer, C. Morrison, C. Streatfeild & L. Roberts (1998). New records of "declining" frogs in Queensland, Australia. Froglog. 29-Jan:1-4.

Hero, J.-M & S. Fickling (1994). A Guide to the Stream-Dwelling Frogs of the Wet Tropics Rainforests. North Queensland: James Cook University.

Hoskin C & R Puschendorf (2013). Project 3.3 - Targeted surveys for missing and critically endangered rainforest frogs in ecotonal areas, and assessment of whether populations are recovering from disease. June 2013 Milestone Report. National Environmnetal Research Program (NERP) Tropical Ecosystems Hub.

Ingram, G.J. & K.R. McDonald (1993). An update on the decline of Queenslands frogs. In: Lunney, D. & D. Ayers, eds. Herpetology in Australia: a diverse discipline. Page(s) 297-303. Sydney, NSW: Royal Zoological Society of NSW.

James Cook University (JCU) (2008). "Extinct" frog found thriving. Media Release. [Online]. Queensland: James Cook University. Available from: http://www.jcu.edu.au/mtb/news/JCUPRD_037882.html.

McDonald, K. & R. Alford (1999). A review of declining frogs in northern Queensland. In: A. Campbell, ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Page(s) 14-22. Canberra: Environment Australia.

McDonald, K.R. (1992). Distribution patterns and conservation status of north Queensland rainforest frogs. Conservation Technical Report 1. Brisbane: Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage.

Northern Queensland Threatened Frogs Recovery Team (NQTFRT) (2001). Recovery Plan for the stream-dwelling rainforest frogs of the wet tropics biogeographic region of north-east Queensland 2000 - 2004. [Online]. QPWS. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/rainforest-frogs/index.html.

Richards, S.J., K.R. McDonald & R.A. Alford (1993). Declines in populations of Australia's endemic tropical rainforest frogs. Pacific Conservation Biology. 1:66-77.

University of Canberra (UC) - Applied Ecology Research Group (2003). Survey Standards for Australian Frogs. Canberra, Australia.

Williams, S.E. & J-M. Hero (1998). Rainforest frogs of the Australian Wet Tropics: guild classification and the ecological similarity of declining species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 265:597-602.

Williams, S.E. & J-M. Hero (2001). Multiple Determinants of Australian Tropical Frog Biodiversity. Biological Conservation. 98:1-10.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Litoria lorica in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sat, 2 Aug 2014 09:29:48 +1000.