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First frogs of the season!

September 5, 2018

Over the last few nights our amphibian chytridiomycosis team (Dr. David Newell, Prof. Hamish McCallum, Dr. Laura Grogan and Thais Sasso Lopes) went out into the field (Nightcap National Park) for the first trip of the season! We were looking for the endangered Fleay's barred frog. 

 

They're hard to find (unless you happen to be as experienced as Dave). There's a frog buried in the soil and leaf litter somewhere in this photo - and I haven't the froggiest idea where! Can you spot it? :)

In this photo Thais is gently running a cotton-tipped swab over the belly skin of the frog. We use these swabs to measure whether the frog is infected with the frog chytrid fungus, and if so, what its infectious burden is. 

Here's the adult male Fleay's barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi), all washed, measured, swabbed and PIT-tagged so we know which one he is next time we catch him at this site. You can see the PIT-tag sitting loosely just under his skin in the middle of his back. It's just like the microchip that identifies your dog or cat (but much much smaller). It doesn't interfere with his movements or behaviours, and he's just about to go back to calling from a nice safe place in the leaf litter. 

Here you can see the stunning bright blue/silver upper part of the frog's iris (part of the eye) which is an important distinguishing feature for this special amphibian (photo credit: Hamish McCallum):

 

We also spotted (and heard) some other frogs while out and about in the forest at night. Here's a black-soled frog (Lechriodus fletcheri):

Here's a little a cascade tree-frog (Litoria pearsoniana):

And a tiny eastern stony-creek frog (Litoria wilcoxii): 

This is a large female Giant barred frog (Mixophyes iteratus) that we saw hopping across the road. 

 We also spotted a semi-slug (below) plus some elusive native rodents (melomys; not pictured). 

 

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