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 Vulnerable
Listing and Conservation Advices Approved Conservation Advice for Litoria verreauxii alpina (alpine tree frog) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2014av) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans 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].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NSW:New South Wales Murray Biodiversity Management Plan (Murray Catchment Management Authority (Murray CMA), 2012) [State Action Plan].
NSW:Alpine Tree Frog - endangered species listing. NSW Scientific Committee - final determination (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2002h) [Internet].
NSW:Threatened Species Management Information Circular No.6 - Hygiene protocol for the control of disease in frogs (NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (NSW DECCW), 2008b) [Information Sheet].
NSW:Predation by Gambusia holbrooki - The Plague Minnow (NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS), 2003i) [State Threat Abatement Plan].
NSW:Alpine Tree Frog - profile (NSW Office of Environment & Heritage (NSW OEH), 2014) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list)
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victoria): February 2014 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
VIC: Listed as Critically Endangered (Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria: 2013 list)
Scientific name Litoria verreauxii alpina [66669]
Family Hylidae:Anura:Amphibia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Dumuril, 1853)
Infraspecies author (Fry, 1915)
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
http://www.viridans.com/frogpics/htm/3907BPR1.HTM ;
http://www.viridans.com/frogpics/htm/3907CPR1.HTM

The Alpine Tree Frog is a subspecies of the broadly distributed Litoria verreauxii. The Alpine Tree Frog is distinguished by the presence of dorsal green or olive markings, extensive dorsal warting, and by its greater size than Litoria verreauxii (NSW SC 2002). Adult frogs grow 25 to 40 mm (ARC 2005).

In NSW, the Alpine Tree Frog occurs in two man-made ponds and five natural ponds within Kosciuszko National Park mostly between 1200-1500 m above sea level (NSW SC 2002; Osborne et al. 1999). Localised extinction had been recorded between 1998 and 2002 (NSW SC 2002). Presence in Namadgi National Park (Gillespie et al. 1995) has not been been confirmed recently (Osborne et al. 1999).

In Victoria, small populations are known from south-east of Mt Hotham and a more extensive population was recorded on the Dargo High Plains, between 1300-1600 m above sea level (Osborne et al. 1999). Other locations include Mt Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve and between Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain (Howard et al. 2011). The subspecies is now considered extinct from Baw Baw Plateau (Baw Baw National Park), Davies Plain, Bogong High Plains (Bogong National Park) and Lake Mountain (Howard et al. 2011). Presence in Alpine National Park and "various state forests" (Gillespie et al. 1995) has not been been confirmed recently (e.g. Howard et al. 2011).

The extent of occurrence for the Alpine Tree Frog is approximately 3500 km² (Osborne et al. 1999).

Museum and field note records indicate that the Alpine Tree Frog was once widespread and abundant throughout much of the high country of south-east Australia (Gillespie et al. 1995). Targeted searches for the subspecies at 150 locations only detected it at aforementioned sites. Surveyed sites include historical locations and throughout Alpine National Park (Victoria), Kosciuszko National Park (NSW), Bimberi Nature Reserve (NSW), Bimberi Range (ACT) and Namadgi National Park (ACT) (Osborne et al. 1999).

The Alpine Tree Frog occurs mainly in woodland, heath, grassland and herb field at montane, subalpine and alpine altitudes. Breeding populations occur on plains or open valleys where there are stream side pools, fens and bogs (Gillespie et al. 1995) but may also be associated with artificial waterbodies such as small dams and reservoirs (Osborne et al. 1999). During the non-breeding season individuals may be found amongst litter, under logs, beneath flat stones in stream beds or in rocky areas near streams (Gillespie et al. 1995).

The Alpine Tree Frog breeds in deep pools, which include fens, stream cut-offs, lakes and reservoirs (Hunter et al. 1998). Calling occurs from late winter to early summer (Hero et al. 1991). An average of 328 eggs (Hero unpublished) are laid in pools around submerged vegetation in large jelly-like clumps (Gillespie et al. 1995). Free-swimming larvae hatch within a few days and complete development in pools (Osborne et al. 1999). Tadpoles have been recorded from November to January and metamorphisis from December to January (Hunter et al. 1998).

The methods that have successfully been used in the past to survey the Alpine Tree Frog are visual encounter surveys, call surveys and egg mass surveys (UC 2003).

Call surveys should be conducted during the known calling period of the Alpine Tree Frog, between September and December (Green & Osborne 1994; Smith 1998).

Egg mass surveys may be effective as this species has clearly visible eggs. The larval period of the Alpine Tree Frog is from November to January (Green & Osborne 1994; Smith 1998). Male Alpine Tree Frogs call from vegetation at banks of pools or partially submerged in water. Tadpoles are also recorded in pools (Hunter et al. 1998).

The timing and rapid nature of the Alpine Tree Frogs' decline, which coincided with the disappearance of several other frog species in this region (e.g Pseudophryne spp. and Philoria frosti, Osborne et al. 1999), is likely to be due to an outbreak of Chytridiomycosis (Hunter et al. 2009). Declines have been more prevalent where the subspecies co-occurs with the common eastern froglet (Crinia signifera) (Hunter et al. 2009).

Stochastic (chance) events may lead to the extinction of the Alpine Tree Frog at the seven remaining breeding locations in the Kosciuszko National Park. The two man-made ponds are susceptible to pollution by run-off from nearby busy roads. The five natural ponds are subject to drying during drought years. Moreover, all breeding locations are vulnerable to trampling by feral horses and livestock (NSW SC 2002).

Inappropriate fire regimes have also impact the species, although the Alpine Tree Frog persisted at Mt Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve and the Dargo Plains following fire in 2009 (Howard et al. 2011).

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
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Habitat loss and modification due to clearance of native vegetation and pasture improvements Acidic deposition as an unlikely cause for amphibian population declines in the Sierra Nevada, California. Conservation Biology. 69:155-161. (Bradford, D.F., M.S. Gordon, D.F. Johnson, R.D. Andrews & W.B. Jennings, 1994) [Journal].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Equus caballus (Horse) The threat posed by pest animals to biodiversity in New South Wales (Coutts-Smith, A.J., P.S. Mahon, M. Letnic & P.O. Downey, 2007) [Management Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Presence of pathogens and resulting disease Chytrid fungi and amphibian declines: overview, implications and future directions. In: Campbell, A., ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Page(s) 23-33. (Berger, L., R. Speare & A. Hyatt, 1999) [Book].
Litoria verreauxii alpina in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006no) [Internet].
Further evidence for the precipitous decline of endemic rainforest frogs in tropical Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology. 1:150-153. (Trenerry, M.P., W.F. Laurance & K.R. McDonald, 1994) [Journal].
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Litoria verreauxii alpina in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006no) [Internet].

Amphibian Research Center (ARC) (2005). Verreaux's Tree Frog. [Online]. Available from: http://frogs.org.au/frogs. [Accessed: 25-May-2006].

Barinaga, P.H. (1990). Where have all the froggies gone?. Science. 247:1033-1034.

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.

Berger, L., R. Speare, P. Daszak, D.E. Green, A.A. Cunningham, C.L. Goggin, R. Slocombe, M.A. Ragan, A.D. Hyatt, K.R. McDonald, H.B. Hines, K.R. Lips, G. Marrantelli & H. Parkes (1998). Chytridiomycosis causes amphibian mortality associated with population declines in the rainforest of Australia and Central America. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA. 95:9031-9036.

Blaustein, A.R. & D.B. Wake (1990). Declining amphibian populations: a global phenomenon?. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 5:203-204.

Blaustein, A.R., P.D. Hoffman, D.G. Hokit, J.M. Kiesecker, S.C. Walls & J.B. Hays (1994). UV repair and resistance to solar UV-B in amphibian eggs: A link to population declines?. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA. 91:1791-1795.

Bradford, D.F., M.S. Gordon, D.F. Johnson, R.D. Andrews & W.B. Jennings (1994). Acidic deposition as an unlikely cause for amphibian population declines in the Sierra Nevada, California. Conservation Biology. 69:155-161.

Broomhall, S.D., W.S. Osborne & R.B. Cunningham (2000). Comparative effects of ambient ultraviolet-B radiation on two sympatric species of Australian frogs. Conservation Biology. 14(2):420-427.

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.

Gillespie, G.R., W.S. Osborne & N.A. McElhinney (1995). The Conservation Status of Frogs in the Australian Alps: a Review. Report to Australian Alps Liaison Committee.

Green, K. & W.S. Osborne (1994). Wildlife of the Australian snow-country: A comprehensive guide to alpine fauna. Chatswood, NSW, Reed Books.

Hero, J-M., M. Littlejohn & G. Marantelli (1991). Frogwatch Field Guide to Victorian Frogs. [Online]. Melbourne, Victoria: Department of Conservation and Environment. Available from: http://frogs.org.au/frogs/index.html.

Howard, K.M., J. Antrobus & N. Clemann (2011). A tale of two mountains: fire, fungus and Alpine Tree Frogs. The Victorian Naturalist. 128(6):260-65.

Hunter, D., R. Pietsch, N. Clemann, M. Scroggie, G. Hollis & G. Marantelli (2009). Prevalence of the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) in populations of two frog species in the Australian Alps. Report to the Australian Alps Liaison Committee.

Hunter, D.A., W.S. Osborne & M.J. Smith (1998). Distribution and abundance of the alpine tree frog (Litoria verreauxii alpina) in the Australian Alps National Parks. Report on the first seasons survey (1996-1997). Unpub. Report to NSW NPWS. Appl. Ecol. Res. Group, Uni. of Canberra.

NSW Scientific Committee (2002i). Final determination - Alpine Tree Frog. [Online]. Available from: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Alpine+tree+frog+-+endangered+species+listing.

Osborne, W., D. Hunter & G. Hollis (1999). Population declines and range contraction in Australian alpine frogs. In: A. Campbell, ed. Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs. Page(s) 145-157. Canberra: Environment Australia.

Osborne, W.S. (1990). Declining frog populations and extinctions in the Canberra region. Bogong. 11:4-7.

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.

Smith, M.J. (1998). Intraspecific variation in the advertisement call and morphology of Litoria verreauxii. BSc (hons) Thesis. Ph.D. Thesis. Canberra, The University of Canberra.

Trenerry, M.P., W.F. Laurance & K.R. McDonald (1994). Further evidence for the precipitous decline of endemic rainforest frogs in tropical Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology. 1:150-153.

Tyler, M.J. (1991). Declining amphibians - a global phenomenon? An Australian perspective. Alytes. 9:43-45.

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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 verreauxii alpina in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:01:47 +1000.