Episode 6 - Knee deep ... Knee deep

November 12, 2008 11:37 by andi

It happened a long time ago but I still remember studying for my Biology 101 exam at my friend Tim’s house. After chatting about the kidneys of salt water fish and many other zoological marvels (which seemed not so marvellous cos we were cramming for an exam) it was time for a coffee break. Tim made the coffees and as he opened the fridge door I caught a glimpse of a row of jars containing frog specimens! Yikes … (Tim’s Dad was a frog researcher.) Whilst I have accidentally grown scarier things in fridges, this was a surprise.

Leapfrog into the future to today and I have finally met the man responsible for this unforgettable experience; he is Associate Professor Murray Littlejohn who is a legend in the frog world for recording frog calls since the late 1950s. He is an honourary fellow here at Museum Victoria and his collection of frog sounds has been digitised for the Museum web site.

Let’s get “knee deep knee deep” once again into the world of frogs.

Dr Andi

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image_spread.jpg Murray Littlejohn with his new book Frogs of Tasmania.| Portable windup reel-to-reel recording equipment used to record frogs in the late-1950s. | Litoria littlejohni: a frog named after Murray Littlejohn. Photo of Littlejohn's Tree Frog taken at Minchin Track, Victoria.


Episode 5 - The Pond-cast

September 30, 2008 10:53 by andi

I don’t actually own a pair of gumboots. That’s how much of an apartment-living, non-outdoor type of city gal I am. So when the PhD students who study Victorian frogs suggested I come on a field trip with them to a large frog pond I released a slow, drawn-out, reluctant, unsure but polite “okay”, thinking: I can still get out of this.

Yes, yours truly – the daring reporter, who intrepidly goes behind the scenes, ventures into hazardous laboratories and dares to go into collection stores where only a few museum staff and contracted cleaners ever go – was not keen about anything beyond Map 58 of the Melbourne road map directory. But this was a rare opportunity to go with tomorrow’s expert herpetologist where no “Access all Areas” had gone before.

So I confessed to the students the only frogs I am brave enough to hold are the chocolate ones I can buy from the I.T. staff canteen and went looking for gumboots. Luckily Dr Jo from marine invertebrates group found me a pair (thanks honey!).

Well … what a great night … I didn’t get to kiss the frog prince but I did get to hold hands.

Frog Princess for a night,  Dr Andi

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Josh looking for frogs in the pond.| Katie makes contact with the Southern Brown tree frog (Litoria ewingi) | Andi holding hands with Katie and Litoria ewingi (the frog prince).