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 Endangered as Litoria myola
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2010g) [Listing Advice].
 
Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2010h) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, the approved conservation advice for the species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats (23/12/2009).
 
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].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (92) (23/12/2009) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2009) [Legislative Instrument] as Litoria myola.
 
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2011.2)
Scientific name Litoria myola [82063]
Family Hylidae:Anura:Amphibia:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Hoskin, 2007
Infraspecies author  
Reference Hoskin, C.J. (2007). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 91: 549-563, 7 figures; http://www.anu.edu.au/BoZo/Scott/PDF%20Files/Hoskin%20PDFS/Hoskin%202007%20BJLS.pdf
Other names Litoria sp. Kuranda [81843]
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 myola

Common name: Kuranda Tree Frog

Litoria myola is conventionally accepted (Hoskin 2007).

The Kuranda Tree Frog is a medium-sized stream and forest dwelling frog. There is considerable sexual dimorphism in size between sexes; males are 35–45 mm in length and weigh 2–5 g, and females are 57–69 mm in length and weigh 9–19 g (Hoskin 2007). Males and females are generally a mottled pattern of tan and brown on the upper surface and pale underneath. A green crescent is present in the upper iris and the back edge of the forearms and legs is fringed with small skin extensions (Hoskin 2007).

The Kuranda Tree Frog can be distinguished by its distinctive short, fast tapping call. The courtship call is an excited, short call consisting of rapidly uttered notes, while a longer call of slower note rate usually indicates aggressive encounters between males (Hoskin 2007).

The Kuranda Tree Frog is endemic to a small area west of Cairns in north-east Queensland. The species is known from 12 discrete breeding aggregations in the lower sections of streams entering the Barron River between the localities of Kuranda, Myola, Mantaka, Kowrowa and Oak Forest (TSSC 2010g).

This species occurs within the Wet Tropics Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia Bioregion and the Wet Tropics Natural Resource Management Region (TSSC 2010g).

The current extent of occurrence for the Kuranda Tree Frog is estimated to be 13.5 km² and its area of occupancy is estimated to be 3.5 km² (Hoskin 2007) but may be larger given seasonal movements of females.

The species' geographic distribution is considered to be restricted and fragmented, as the species occurs in only 12 breeding aggregations. These breeding aggregations are geographically discrete clusters of breeding individuals that are largely independent of each other. Individuals have not been found in areas between these breeding aggregations. Distances between some of the breeding aggregations are large compared to the likely dispersal ability of the species and rainforest habitat has been cleared for rural sub-division and urban development between some breeding aggregations, most likely limiting movement of the species (Hoskin 2007).

Between 2000–06, stream surveys and density estimates revealed a Kuranda Tree Frog population of approximately 1000 mature individuals (Hoskin 2007). During that period the species was known from five streams. Additional surveys and monitoring performed over the summer wet season of 2006–07 showed a noticeable decline in abundance of the species at four of these five sites. In particular, numbers at the only site with a significant breeding aggregation, Jumrum Creek, declined from 500 adults to 200 in November 2008 (C.J. Hoskin 2009, pers. comm., cited in TSSC 2010g). This represents a 30 per cent reduction in total population size counts over two years. In addition, continued declines that have been recorded at the other four sites since 2006–07 are continuing (C.J. Hoskin 2009, pers. comm., cited in TSSC 2010g).

The total number of mature individuals of the Kuranda Tree Frog is estimated to be approximately 700 (C.J. Hoskin 2009, pers. comm., cited in TSSC 2010g).

The largest breeding aggregation of Kuranda Tree Frog is located partly in a reserve, Jumrum Creek Conservation Park. Other breeding aggregations exist on private land and Mareeba Shire Council Land (Hoskin 2007).

The Kuranda Tree Frog is found in rainforest near slow-moving permanent and ephemeral streams (Hoskin 2007). All sites from which the species is known are close to the Barron River and between 300 and 400 m altitude. The sites are generally sheltered and experience little wind. At these mid altitudes, the climate is warm and humid. There are pronounced wet and dry seasons, with most rain falling in the warmer 'wet season' between November and April. Streams inhabited by the Kuranda Tree Frog are meandering and structured as long, slow pools separated by short, shallow sections of riffles or cascades. The streams are small to moderate-sized, with low levels of flow (except following heavy rain) (Hoskin 2007).

The species has been observed in relatively mature rainforest as well as in areas of regenerating rainforest. The species appears to require reasonably thick riparian forest and is generally absent from sites where only narrow strips of riparian forest have been retained (Hoskin 2007).

Male Kuranda Tree Frogs are encountered calling along streams through the spring and summer months, primarily near riffle areas and small cascades (Hoskin 2007). Males are rarely encountered away from streams. Calling males clump around the shallower, flowing sections of streams. Female Kuranda Tree Frogs are rarely encountered, and those that have been found were visiting streams to breed. A few females have been observed in the mid and upper strata of rainforest trees (both near and some distance from streams) and Hoskin (2007) suggests that this is where they live when not visiting streams to breed.

The Kuranda Tree Frog breeds primarily in spring and summer. Tadpoles live in streams for about two months. Metamorphs have been observed on stream-side vegetation but sub-adults have very rarely been observed in streams, suggesting that they move into the forest to mature (Hoskin 2007).

Generation length in the Kuranda Tree Frog is not known with certainty, but is estimated to be 3.5 years based on two similar-sized Litoria species found in similar habitats (Red-eyed Tree Frog (L. chloris), Lesueur's Tree Frog (L. lesueuri)) (Morrison et al. 2004).

The species' diet is not known in detail but, as for similar frog species, it most likely consists of invertebrates (insects and arthropods) (Hoskin 2007).

The Kuranda Tree Frog is affected by vegetation clearance, hydrological disturbances, species hybridisation and chytrid fungus.

Vegetation clearance
The species is threatened by clearing of rainforest vegetation (including regrowth), particularly in relation to the current and proposed rural sub-division and urban development within the species' geographic distribution (Hoskin 2007).

Hydrological distrubances
Changes in water flow, water quality and sedimentation, particularly due to current and proposed residential development also threaten the Kuranda Tree Frog. These changes can occur as a result of impacts both at the sites where the species occurs as well as upstream in the catchments (Hoskin 2007).

Species hybridisation
The Kuranda Tree Frog is potentially threatened by hybridisation with the closely related Green-eyed Tree Frog (Litoria genimaculata). Currently the two species co-exist in this region but levels of hybridisation are very low. However, disruption to the natural levels of interaction due to captive breeding and release or movement of individuals in and out of the region or between sites may increase levels of hybridisation (Hoskin 2007; TSSC 2010g).

Chytrid fungus
The exotic frog chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), which has been found on the closely related Green-eyed Tree Frog, is also a potential threat (Hoskin 2007). Female Kuranda Tree Frogs are believed to be at a higher risk of mortality during their seasonal breeding movements between forest and stream habitats (TSSC 2010g).

Minister's Reason for Recovery Plan Decision
A recovery plan for the species is not considered to be necessary at this time, as the approved conservation advice for the species provides sufficient direction to implement priority actions and mitigate against key threats.

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (TSSC 2010h) outlines the following research priorities:

  • Design and implement a monitoring program or, if appropriate, support and enhance existing programs.
  • More precisely assess population size, distribution, biological characteristics, ecological requirements and the relative impacts of threatening processes.
  • Continue survey work in suitable habitat and potential habitat to locate any additional populations.
  • Undertake genetic analyses to (1) assess current gene flow (using markers and analyses capable of distinguishing population divergence on an evolutionary timescale, from that which might be due to more recent impacts), and (2) identify populations with low genetic diversity that might benefit from artificial introduction of genetic material from other populations from which they have relatively recently diverged.
  • Monitor hybridisation levels.

In addition, the Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (TSSC 2010h) outlines the following priority actions:

  • Monitor known populations to identify key threats.
  • Minimise adverse impacts from rural and urban residential development in the species' distribution.
  • Monitor the progress of recovery, including the effectiveness of management actions and the need to adapt them if necessary.
  • Identify populations of high conservation priority.
  • Extend the area of protected habitat to include the entire distribution of the largest breeding aggregation.
  • Manage any changes to hydrology that may result in changes to water flow, water quality and/or sedimentation.
  • Provide for appropriate corridors for frog movements when constructing roads in the area.
  • Develop and implement suitable hygiene protocols to protect known sites from outbreaks of the disease chytrid fungus (chytridiomycosis).
  • If necessary, implement appropriate management actions to minimise the adverse impacts of existing chytrid fungus (chytridiomycosis) infestations.
  • Raise awareness of the Kuranda Tree Frog within the local community.
  • Frequently engage with private landholders and land managers responsible for the land on which populations occur and encourage these key stakeholders to contribute to the implementation of conservation management actions.

The Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (TSSC 2010h) provides a brief biological overview and management recommendations. The Threat Abatement Plan for the infection of amphibians with chytrid fungus resulting in chytridiomycosis (AGDEH 2006o) is also available.

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
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Chytridiomycosis disease Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (chytrid fungus) Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2010g) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2010g) [Listing Advice].
Pollution:Pollution:Changes to water and sediment flows leading to erosion, siltation and pollution Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2010g) [Listing Advice].
Pollution:Pollution:Pollution due to oil spills and other chemical pollutants Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2010g) [Listing Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat clearance for rural, peri-urban and urban development Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2010g) [Listing Advice].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2010g) [Listing Advice].
Species Stresses (suggest Reproductive Resilience?):Indirect Species Effects:Reduction of genetic intergrity of a species due to hybridisation Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2010g) [Listing Advice].

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.

Hoskin, C.J. (2007). Description, biology and conservation of a new species of Australian tree frog (Hylidae: Litoria) and an assessment of the remaining populations of Litoria genimaculata Horst 1883: systematics and conservation implications of an unusual speciation event. Biological Journal of the Linnaean Society. 91:549-563.

Morrison, C., J.M. Hero & J. Browning (2004). Altitudinal variation in the age at maturity, longevity, and reproductive lifespan of anurans in subtropical Queensland. Herpetologica. 60:34-44.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2010g). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/82063-listing-advice.pdf.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2010h). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Litoria myola (Kuranda Tree Frog). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/82063-conservation-advice.pdf.

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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 myola in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:52:48 +1000.