Litoria nannotis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Hylidae

Scientific Name: Litoria nannotis (Andersson, 1916)
Common Name(s):
English Torrent Tree Frog, Waterfall Frog
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2014).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2ae ver 3.1
Year Published: 2004
Date Assessed: 2004-04-30
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Jean-Marc Hero, Richard Retallick
Reviewer(s): Global Amphibian Assessment Coordinating Team (Simon Stuart, Janice Chanson and Neil Cox)
Listed as Endangered because of a drastic population decline estimated to be more than 50% over the last three generations, possibly due to chytridiomycosis.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Wet Tropics Bioregion in north Queensland, from Paluma to Cooktown (Hero and Fickling 1994; Williams and Hero 1998, 2001) at altitudes between 180 and 1,300m asl (McDonald 1992). It includes three deeply divergent mitochondrial DNA lineages, distributed from Paluma to Tully River, Tully River to Lamb Range, and Mount Lewis to Big Tableland (Schneider, Cunningham and Moritz 1998).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species was first noted to have declined in 1990 (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993), since it had apparently disappeared from most upland sites south of the Daintree River. The species occurred at all lowland sites, and at upland sites north of the Daintree River during summer surveys in 1991–1992. In 1994 it was sighted at several locations above 600 m asl on Mount Father Clancy. Lowland populations surveyed in Tully Gorge appeared to be relatively stable between 1995 and 1998 (J.-M. Hero pers. comm.). At the southern end of its range it was last observed in Mount Spec State Forest in 1991 (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993); however, adults occurred at a lower elevation site in a different creek system (Crystal Creek Stone Bridge, 300m asl) from January 1994 to September 1995 (J.-M. Hero pers. comm.). This species is currently known to have stable populations at lowland sites (Hero et al. 1998, McDonald and Alford 1999).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Litoria nannotis is a habitat specialist, restricted to rocky stream habitats in rainforest or wet sclerophyll forest where there is fast-flowing water, waterfalls and cascades (Liem 1974b; McDonald 1992). It is a stream dwelling and breeding species (Hodgkison and Hero 2001), but, unlike most stream-breeding frog species that live in the adjacent forest and use the stream habitat for breeding, the stream is the primary habitat for both male and females throughout the year (Hodgkison and Hero 2001, 2002). On several occasions the adults and juveniles were noted to form small aggregations (4-6 individuals) amongst large boulders behind waterfalls (Liem 1974b; J-M. Hero pers. obs.). Gravid females and males with nuptial pads are encountered all year round (Martin and McDonald 1995). Unpigmented eggs numbering 136-216 (1.98-3.4mm in diameter) are laid in gelatinous egg masses under rocks in water (Liem 1974b; Hero and Fickling 1996). Liem (1974b) described the larva and noted that it is one of the few species of frog known to exhibit larval adaptations to torrent environments of Australia, such as a streamlined body shape, large suctorial mouthparts and a muscular tail. Richards (1992) also provided information on the larvae of the L. nannotis group.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The reason(s) for the decline are unknown. Richards, McDonald and Alford (1993) reject drought, floods, habitat destruction or pollution by pesticides, inorganic ions or heavy metals. The habitat of the species in the Wet Tropics has been protected since 1988, and habitat destruction is no longer a major threat (McDonald and Alford 1999). Research is examining the possibility that disease, such as a viral infection or chytrid fungus, may have contributed to the decline of this species (Berger, Speare and Hyattt 1999). Feral pigs are a potential cause of riparian habitat damage and adult frog mortality (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993). The activity of feral pigs has been recorded to have increased over the period 1989-1992 in an area previously inhabited by L. nannotis (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993). However, there has been very little research into the impact of feral pigs on native frog populations (Richards, McDonald and Alford 1993).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There is a need for continued and strengthened protection of habitat in the Wet Tropics, including an improved management plan that involves dealing with the threat posed by feral pigs. Further research into the reasons for the decline of this species in pristine habitat is necessary.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.2. Invasive/problematic species control
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.4. Compliance and enforcement -> 5.4.3. Sub-national level

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Past, Unlikely to Return    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.1. Recreational activities
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Sus domesticus ]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.2. Named species [ Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis ]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.5. Viral/prion-induced diseases -> 8.5.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Barker, J., Grigg, G. and Tyler, M. 1995. A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty and Sons Pty Ltd, New South Wales.

Berger, L., Speare, R. and Hyatt, A. 1999. Chytrid fungi and amphibian declines: overview, implications and future directions. In: Campbell, A. (ed.), Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs, pp. 23-33. Environment Australia, Canberra.

Cogger, H.G. 1992. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books, New South Wales.

Hero, J.-M. and Fickling, S. 1996. Reproductive characteristics of female frogs from mesic habitats in Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum: 306.

Hero, J.-M., Hines, H.B., Meyer, E., Morrison, C., Streatfeild, C and Roberts, L. 1998. New records of “declining” frogs in Queensland, Australia. FrogLog: 1-4.

Hodgkison, S.C. and Hero, J.-M. 2001. Daily behaviour and microhabitat use of the Waterfall Frog, Litoria nannotis in Tully Gorge, Eastern Australia. Journal of Herpetology: 166-170.

Hodgkison, S.C. and Hero, J.-M. 2002. Seasonal behaviour of Litoria nannotis, Litoria rheocola and Nyctimystes dayi in Tully Gorge, north Queensland, Australia. In: Natrass, R. (ed.), Frogs in the Community - Proceedings of the Brisbane Conference 13-14 February 1999, pp. 29-39. Queensland Museum.

Hodgkison, S.C. and Hero, J.-M. 2003. Seasonal, sexual and ontogenetic variations in the diet of the declining frogs, Litoria nannotis, L. rheocola and Nyctimystes dayi. Wildlife Research: 345-354.

IUCN. 2004. 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 23 November 2004).

Liem, D.S. 1974. A review of the Litoria nannotis species group and a description of a new species of Litoria from north-east Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum: 151-168.

Martin, W.F. and McDonald, K.R. 1995. Draft Recovery Plan for the Threatened Stream-dwelling Frogs of the Wet Tropics. Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, Brisbane, Australia.

McDonald, K. and Alford, R. 1999. A review of declining frogs in northern Queensland. In: Campbell, A. (ed.), Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs, pp. 14-22. Environment Australia, Canberra.

McDonald, K.R. 1992. Distribution patterns and conservation status of north Queensland rainforest frogs. Conservation Technical Report No. 1, Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, Brisbane, Australia.

Richards, S.J. 1992. The tadpole of the Australian frog Litoria nyakalensis (Anura: Hylidae), and a key to the torrent tadpoles of northern Queensland. Alytes: 99-103.

Richards, S.J., McDonald, K.R. and Alford, R.A. 1993. Declines in populations of Australia’s endemic tropical rainforest frogs. Pacific Conservation Biology: 66-77.

Schneider, C.J., Cunningham, M. and Moritz, C. 1998. The comparative phylogeography and the history of endemic vertebrates in the Wet Tropics rainforests of Australia. Molecular Ecology: 487-498.

Tyler, M.J. 1997. The Action Plan for Australian Frogs. Wildlife Australia, Canberra.

Williams, S.E. and Hero, J.-M. 1998. Rainforest frogs of the Australian Wet Tropics: guild classification and the ecological similarity of declining species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: 597-602.

Williams, S.E. and Hero, J.-M. 2001. Multiple determinants of Australian Tropical Frog Biodiversity. Biological Conservation: 1-10.

Citation: Jean-Marc Hero, Richard Retallick. 2004. Litoria nannotis. In: . The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T12148A3326626. . Downloaded on 16 August 2018.
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