Sunday, 23 September 2012

A tree frog in our garden!

Tonight we were enjoying the increasingly warm Queensland weather and ate our dinner outside (the novelty never wears off for us Brits!).  We heard a rustle and something landed on the ground under our Myrtle trees amongst the fallen leaves.  A closer look revealed a Green Tree Frog  Litoria caerulea.  We have a very small suburban back garden, so were very excited to find this new inhabitant here!

The picture below gives you an idea of how small he is... we hope he decides to stay in our trees and not venture through the fence to the driveway.  Tree frogs can grow quite a bit bigger than this, up to around 10 cm.  This one was probably about 5 cm.  One interesting fact about them I have just found is their use in medical research: Several peptides from the skin secretions of the Green Tree Frog were found to destroy HIV without harming healthy T-cells.  Amazing.  Yet, as a group, frogs are some of the planet's most endangered set of species with a complex, numerous and poorly understood range of causes of extinction.  Despite this, the seriousness of the widespread loss of amphibian species is much overlooked in comparison to endangered species of the more cute and cuddly variety.  Amphibian Ark and Save the Frogs are two organisations who are trying to raise awareness and stem the losses.  

I hadn't even realised tree frogs would be in Brisbane.  The last time we saw one was this much larger beauty pictured below, when we stayed  last New Year on a cane farm near Bundaberg, quite far north of here.  Of course, on that trip we saw plenty of cane toads too!

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