Nature conservation

Threatened species

Southern Bell 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 raniformis
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Vulnerable
Profile last updated: 18 Oct 2022


One of the largest frog species in Australia, these animals may reach up to 104 mm in length, with females usually larger than males. Animals vary greatly in colour and pattern but are typically olive to bright emerald green, with irregular gold, brown, black or bronze spotting with a pale green stripe down the centre of the back. Undersides are white and coarsely granular, although during the breeding season males may become yellow or dark grey/black under the throat. The groin and posterior of the thighs are turquoise blue. They lack webbing on their fingers but the toes are almost fully webbed and toe discs are small and approximately equal in width to the digits. The male’s call is a growling, engine-like "waaa waaa waaa", heard during the breeding season.


In NSW the species was once distributed along the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers and their tributaries, the southern slopes of the Monaro district and the central southern tablelands as far north as Tarana, near Bathurst. Currently, the species is known to exist only in isolated populations in the Coleambally Irrigation Area, the Lowbidgee floodplain and around Lake Victoria. A few yet unconfirmed records have also been made in the Murray Irrigation Area in recent years. The species is also found in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, where it has also become endangered.

Habitat and ecology

  • Usually found in or around permanent or ephemeral Black Box/Lignum/Nitre Goosefoot swamps, Lignum/Typha swamps and River Red Gum swamps or billabongs along floodplains and river valleys. They are also found in irrigated rice crops, particularly where there is no available natural habitat.
  • Breeding occurs during the warmer months and is triggered by flooding or a significant rise in water levels. The species has been known to breed anytime from early spring through to late summer/early autumn (Sept to April) following a rise in water levels.
  • During the breeding season animals are found floating amongst aquatic vegetation (especially cumbungi or Common Reeds) within or at the edge of slow-moving streams, marshes, lagoons, lakes, farm dams and rice crops.
  • Tadpoles require standing water for at least 4 months for development and metamorphosis to occur but can take up to 12 months to develop.
  • Outside the breeding season animals disperse away from the water and take shelter beneath ground debris such as fallen timber and bark, rocks, grass clumps and in deep soil cracks.
  • Prey includes a variety of invertebrates as well as other small frogs, including young of their own species.

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
Cobar PeneplainLachlan Plains Known None
Murray Darling DepressionDarling Depression Predicted None
Murray Darling DepressionSouth Olary Plain Known None
NSW South Western SlopesInland Slopes Known None
NSW South Western SlopesLower Slopes Known None
Other StateSA Known None
Other StateVIC Known None
RiverinaLachlan Known None
RiverinaMurray Fans Known None
RiverinaMurray Scroll Belt Known None
RiverinaMurrumbidgee Known None
RiverinaRobinvale Plains Known None
South Eastern HighlandsBathurst Predicted None
South Eastern HighlandsKybeyan-Gourock Known None
South Eastern HighlandsMonaro Known None
South Eastern HighlandsOberon Predicted None