Nature conservation

Threatened species

Yellow-spotted Tree Frog - profile

Indicative distribution

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The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Litoria castanea
Conservation status in NSW: Critically Endangered
Commonwealth status: Critically Endangered
Gazetted date: 04 Dec 2009
Profile last updated: 12 Jul 2023


The bell frogs are large, long-lived and mostly aquatic tree frogs, with only small finger and toe pads. The Yellow-spotted Bell Frog is distinguished from other members of the group by its fully webbed toes and yellow spots on the groin and the back of the thighs. Elsewhere it is marbled green and gold, with black spots. This patterning varies greatly, but the pale green mid-back stripe is unvarying. The larger females may be up 9cm long. The call is a series of loud, droning grunts, like a distant motorbike. The tadpoles are large, growing to about 8cm long with a pinkish-grey body and yellowish fins.


Historically, this species occurred in two separate highland ranges: on the New England Tableland, and on the southern and central tablelands from Bathurst to Bombala. Following the chytrid virus pandemic in the 1970s, this species went unrecorded for 30 years and was believed to be extinct, until it was rediscovered in 2009 on the Southern Tablelands. This population - near Yass - remains the only known extant site of the species.

Habitat and ecology

  • Require large permanent ponds or slow flowing 'chain-of-ponds' streams with abundant emergent vegetation such as bulrushes and aquatic vegetation.
  • Adults are active during spring and summer and bask on sunny days.
  • Move and forage at night on grassy banks or float on the water's surface.
  • Males call at night from the open water and breeding generally occurs during or following rain.
  • Eggs are laid amongst aquatic vegetation.
  • Shelter during autumn and winter under fallen timber, rocks, other debris or thick vegetation.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Australian AlpsSnowy Mountains Predicted None
New England TablelandsArmidale Plateau Known Above 1000 m altitude
New England TablelandsGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts Known Above 1000 m altitude
New England TablelandsMoredun Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsNightcap Known Above 1000 m altitude
Other StateACT Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsCrookwell Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsHill End Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsKanangra Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMurrumbateman Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOberon Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsOrange Predicted None