Littlejohn's tree frog - vulnerable species listing

NSW Scientific Committee - final determination

The Scientific Committee, established by the Threatened Species Conservation Act, has made a Final Determination to list Littlejohn's Tree Frog, Litoria littlejohni A.W. White, Whitford & Mahony (1994), as a VULNERABLE SPECIES on Schedule 2 of that Act. Listing of vulnerable species is provided for by Part 2 of the Act.

The Scientific Committee has found that:

1. Littlejohn's Tree Frog, Litoria littlejohni A.W. White, Whitford & Mahony (1994), is distributed along the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range from Watagan State Forest near Wyong, south to Buchan in north-eastern Victoria. It appears to be restricted to sandstone woodland and heath communities at mid to high altitude. It forages both in the tree canopy and on the ground, and it has been observed sheltering under rocks on high exposed ridges during summer. It is not known from coastal habitats.

2. Breeding in Littlejohn's Tree Frog is unusual, being mostly in autumn, but the species will also breed after heavy rainfall in spring and summer. It appears to breed in wet forest margins, which may be wet heath or ephemeral wet areas. It lays relatively few eggs.

3. Littlejohn's Tree Frog is known from only 13 locations in New South Wales. Of these locations, six occur in conservation areas: Blue Mountains National Park, Royal National Park, Barren Grounds Nature Reserve, Morton National Park, Budawang National Park and Wadbilliga National Park.

4. The range of Littlejohn's Tree Frog appears to have remained constant since 1976, although the species' prevalence and abundance within its range have declined significantly. Sightings of more than 10 frogs have been recorded from only three locations (Watagan State Forest, Ourimbah State Forest and Barren Grounds Nature Reserve) and most sightings are of no more than three frogs at one time.

5. Factors threatening the survival of Littlejohn's Tree Frog include: limited dispersal from small populations, which increases the risk of local extinction; clearing of native vegetation and reduced habitat availability; and inappropriate fire practices (including pre- and post-logging burns and control burning) that disturb breeding habitat.

6. In view of the above points, the Scientific Committee is of the opinion that Littlejohn's Tree Frog, Litoria littlejohni, is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances and factors threatening its survival or evolutionary development cease to operate, and is therefore eligible for listing as a vulnerable species.

Proposed Gazettal date: 26/5/00
Exhibition period: 26/5/00 - 30/6/00

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Page last updated: 28 February 2011