New frogs just dropped in Australia. Scientists from UNSW have discovered two new species of frogs and they are LOUD.
The ‘Screaming Tree Frog’ and the ‘Slender Bleating Tree Frog’ are two new species, although they were originally considered part of a different species: the ‘Robust Bleating Tree Frog’. As it would turn out, these are three separate kinds of frogs — although they all love a good scream, they’re all different!
“These noisy frog bachelors are super loud when they are trying to woo their mates,” said Dr Jodi Rowley, a herpetologist from UNSW and at the Australian Museum. She’s also a lead scientist on the FrogID project, which verifies frogs and species of frogs across Australia (246 have been found!). It’s like Pokémon for frogs.
“Our examination revealed that their calls differ slightly in how long, how high-pitched and how rapid-fire they are. The Slender Bleating Tree Frog has the shortest, most rapid-fire and highest-pitched calls,” Dr Rowley said.
SOUND UP! Check out the ???? to see why scientists – including @UNSW Science's @jodirowley, a herpetologist from @unswbees & @austmus
– have long thought that the Bleating Tree frog (Litoria dentata) & the Screaming Tree frog (Litoria quiritatus) were the same ????.
???? @jodirowley pic.twitter.com/WHMl1zRsnv
— UNSW Science (@UNSWScience) November 23, 2021
So what makes these new Aussie frogs so different from each other? Firstly, their appearance. As the name would suggest, the Slender Bleating Tree Frog is a skinny queen and has a white line down its side. Males also have a black vocal sack.
The Screaming Tree Frog isn’t so slender, with males having a bright yellow vocal sack. During breeding season, males have a habit of turning lemon yellow.
When it comes to the Robust Bleating Tree Frog, males tend to have a brownish vocal sack, which can turn yellow or yellowish-brown when inflated.
“Although similar in appearance, and in their piercing calls, the frogs are genetically very different. I’m still amazed that it’s taken us so long to discover that the loudest frog in Australia is not one but three species,” said Professor Donnellan, the chief research scientist at the South Australian Museum.
So, where can you find these loud froggies? Turns out they can appear in backyards and paddocks across the east coast of Australia, along with more natural habitats. The Slender Tree Frog is a Queensland native, whereas the Screaming Tree Frog can be found from Taree in New South Wales down to the Victorian border. The Bleating Tree Frog can be found between south-eastern Queensland and Eden in NSW.
If you’re interested in figuring out what frogs live in your backyard or what frog is making all that racket, you can use the FrogID app to help.