Craying and frogging

I went into the field on the weekend with Kat (see my other posts here and here). This time we were sticking radio transmitters and temperature loggers onto crayfish.

As we were walking to the creek that forms her study site, we found a cray out and about on land. Kat measured its body temperature, and after she released the cray it quickly retreated into a nearby rocky cave. (If you’d seen how Kat measured its body temperature you’d retreat pretty quickly too!)

Lamington spiny cray (Euastacus sulcatus)
A retreating cray

It didn’t take long after reaching the creek before we caught some crayfish. We stuck a logger and a transmitter on them.

Lamington spiny cray (Euastacus sulcatus)

Lamington spiny cray (Euastacus sulcatus)
Lamington spiny cray (Euastacus sulcatus) having a transmitter stuck to it

We were by a small rock pool that couldn’t have been more than a few square metres in total surface area, with a fairly shallow depth. We found four adult crays in it over the course of an hour or so. These animals seem to occur in quite high densities. Kat’s study should show if these guys are moving from pond to pond a lot, or if they’re just staying in the one spot.

Kat numbers her crays with a small label on the back of their head. She’s numbered about 30 crays so far, with plenty more to go.

Lamington spiny cray (Euastacus sulcatus)
Lamington spiny cray (Euastacus sulcatus) with a number

As we were sitting by the rock pool, we watched an eastern water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii) scurry along a fallen log.

Eastern water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii)
Eastern water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii)

As we were heading back to the cabins that night we saw a similarly sized dragon resting in a tree.

Eastern water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii)
Eastern water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii)

Eastern water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii)
Eastern water dragon (Physignathus lesueurii lesueurii)

It was raining when we walked back to the cabin that night. As we approached some water troughs we could hear some frogs calling. There were several red-eyed tree frogs (Litoria chloris) around the troughs.

Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris)
Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris)

Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris)
Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris)

Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris)
Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris)

Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris) in amplexus
Red-eyed tree frogs (Litoria chloris) doing naughty things

Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris) on tap
Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris) on tap

Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris)
Red-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris) on tap

There were some other frogs in the troughs themselves.

Black-soled frog (Lechriodus fletcheri)
Black-soled frog (Lechriodus fletcheri)

Tusked frog (Adelotus brevis)
Tusked frog (Adelotus brevis)

In addtion to the crays and the frogs, we saw a whole bunch of other things.

Cricket
Cricket

Glow worms
Glow worms

Spider
Spider

Beetle
Beetle

Panda snail
Panda snail

Panda snail
Panda snail

Gigantic worm thing
A gigantic worm thing

UPDATE: After much discussion (see comments below), the identification of the unknown frogs is complete.

About Stewart Macdonald

I'm a wildlife ecologist living and working in Queensland, Australia. I spend most of my time in the bush finding and photographing wildlife.
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11 Responses to Craying and frogging

  1. Beth says:

    Wow – so cool!

    I don’t agree with the identification of those frogs as Adelotus brevis though… Tusked frogs have quite warty, rugose skin and short limbs, whereas your photos show that the skin is very smooth.

    The extremely long legs and bold barring on the thighs makes me think they’re juvenile Mixophyes fasciolatus. Check with Ed – he’ll know for sure.

  2. Stewart says:

    When I saw the barring on the legs I immediately thought Mixophyes. But the body has markings that aren’t really typical of Mixophyes.

  3. Stephen says:

    Beth,

    Truthfully, I’m really not sure what they are. An image from a different angle (belly or side shot) would really help. They may even be different species, although the leg patterning does look very similar.

    Adelotus brevis has bumpy skin, and when it’s wet they appear quite shiny. The leg length in the first image is something I’m not comfortable with for A. brevis. But I can’t rule them out based on the leg patterning, body shape and patterning, and the blotch between the eyes. I wouldn’t be surprised if they aren’t Tusked Frogs, but at this stage they’re more in than out.

    They’re definitely not M. fasciolatus. Leg barring and thigh colouration is not agreeable, and neither is body patterning. They may be Mixophyes iteratus, but it’s only a possibility. I’d expect more gold in the eye from the overhead shot.

    They may be a Limnodynastes species, but I’d expect the middle toe to be much longer on the rear leg. They may be a Uperoleia species, but I see no evidence of a parotoid gland. Possibly Cyclorana, but leg patterning is all wrong. I also know of no Litoria with that leg patterning. It’s easier to rule these out than in.

    Stewart, next time take a belly shot and that way it will be unequivocal.

    Steve

  4. Stewart says:

    But that would involve getting my hands wet!

  5. Stephen says:

    Well, it’s that or catch the King Cricket (Australostoma sp.) for me. Someone I know is interested in studying the taxonomy (see http://www.ento.csiro.au/aicn/system/stenopel.htm) of Australian King Crickets, and he’d appreciate the specimen.

    FWIW it looks like a girl.

    Steve

  6. Beth says:

    I agree with all your remarks, Steve. I couldn’t conclusively identify either frog, which has me intrigued!

    I have sent the link to Ed Meyer, and will keep you posted on his conclusion.

    BTW, what was their approximate length, Stew?

  7. Stewart says:

    They were larger than I thought Adelotus brevis got to. I think about 7 cm SVL, but I’m not 100% sure. Next time I’m there I’ll definitely get my hands dirty and take some better photos.

  8. Stewart says:

    OK, Steve asked the guy who wrote the book. I’ve edited the body of the post with identifications.

  9. Ed Meyer says:

    Stew et al.,

    re. the frogs in the trough. The first (uppermost) is the black-soled frog (Lechriodus fletcheri), the second is a boof-headed adult male tusked frog (Adelotus brevis) (girls are more gracile with a more appropriately-sized head).

    P.S. Nice pics of the panda snail and crayfish.

  10. Pingback: Wallum frogging | Stewed Thoughts by Stewart Macdonald

  11. Ceris Ash says:

    Hi Stewart,

    I have started a group at Springbrook called Springbrook Wildlife Appreciation Group-SWAG. Our aim is to educate ourselves on the local amazing wildlife.I am interested in getting in contact with your friend Kat as I would love someone to come and give us a talk about blue crays.With the recent rain they are all on the move and it would be great to get some idea how far they go. Who they mate with etc. Hope you can help. Ceris