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Bioinformatics

Student Projects

Frogs of Victoria


Frogs of Victoria

    Red Groined Froglet

    Photo by Peter Robertson © Museum Victoria

  1. Frog Classification
  2. Related Species
  3. Is this Frog in your District?
  4. Frog Distribution
  5. Frog Seasonality
  6. Frog Toxicity
  7. Frog Images and Calls
  8. Your Report

There are 34 frog species known in Victoria. Some are quite localised in just a few districts, while others are much more widespread. A knowledge of these species will provide students with an understanding of the biodiversity and environmental requirements of a particularly vulnerable part of Australia's wildlife.

A useful class project can be easily organised by allocating one or two species of frog to each student to research through the Bioinformatics database, and supplementing this with additional information from library resources. When the students have finished their research, the results could be presented as short individual reports on each frog species, and then summarised as a class poster or publication on the frogs of Victoria.

Please don't collect frogs or disturb their habitats as many are endangered species.

1. Frog Classification

Classification Search

Scroll down until you come to the Genus and Species names. This shows the scientific names of the 34 Victorian frogs on this database. Allocate one or two frog species to each member of the class.

Enter the name of the frog you have chosen and you will obtain a detailed account of its lineage (from kingdom, through phylum, class, order, family, genus, species, etc).

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2. Related Species

Would you like to know what the close relatives of your frog are?

Nature's Family Trees or Hierarchical Searches

Enter the family name of the frog you have chosen and you will obtain a list of Victorian frogs which are close relatives of the one you have chosen.

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3. Is this Frog in your District?

To find out whether your frog occurs in your district, carry out the following search:

  • Check a frog list for your area:

    • If you live in country Victoria, obtain a list of frogs for a block of land 30 minutes square (roughly 45 km x 55 km):

      Frog Checklist Map Search

      Click on the area in which your school or home is located to obtain your list. Is your frog present?
      If you want to search an even larger area, click and highlight a few adjoining areas.

    • OR

    • If you live in the Greater Melbourne area, obtain a list of frogs for a block of land 10 minutes square (roughly 15 km x 18 km):

      Frog Cumulative Checklist Map for the Greater Melbourne Area

      Click on the area in which your school or home is located to obtain your list. Is your frog present?
      If you want to search an even larger area, click and highlight a few adjoining areas.

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4. Frog Distribution

Where in Victoria has the museum recorded sightings of your chosen frog? Carry out the following search:

GIS Species Information Searches

Enter the scientific name of your frog, and obtain a list of the latitude and longitude of all recorded sightings. Plot the most frequent sightings on a map of Victoria. Have there been any sightings near where you live?

'Click to produce Distribution Map' at the top of the list of sightings to obtain access to six maps showing where in Victoria your frog has been recorded. The maps are:

  • Plain map
  • Altitude map
  • Rainfall map
  • Vegetation map
  • Zoogeographic map
  • Rivers map

Carefully examine each map and try to write statements about where your frog occurs in Victoria. The following questions may assist you to do this:

Plain Map
In which districts of Victoria does your frog occur? Use latitude and longitude and a good map of Victoria to answer this.
Does your frog occur near the coast, inland, near Melbourne, elsewhere in Victoria?

Altitude Map
Does your frog mainly live at low or high altitudes?
Is its favoured altitude the same on the coast as it is in inland areas?

Rainfall Map
Does your frog favour wet or dry areas of the state?
What is its preferred annual rainfall?
Is rainfall or altitude the best predictor of where your frog might be found?

Vegetation Map
What vegetation type or plant community is favoured by your frog?
Find out a little more about the sorts of trees and other plants found within this plant community.

Zoogeographical Map
In which type of animal community does your frog live?
Find out a little more about this zoogeographical region of Victoria.

Rivers Map
Is your frog found near major rivers?

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5. Frog Seasonality

Find out the months in which your frog has been most frequently sighted.

Monthly Adult Frog Recorded Frequencies Search

Enter the name of your frog and obtain a table and graph showing the months in which the museum has recorded your frog. Try to explain the pattern of sightings.

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6. Frog Toxicity

Find out how toxic the skin secretions of your frog are.

Frog Toxin Potential Search

Enter the name of the frog you have chosen and obtain an indication of the toxicity of its skin secretions.

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7. Frog Images and Calls

To obtain one or several images of your chosen frog, carry out the following search:

Image Search

Enter the name of your chosen frog and gain access to all the images of the frog that are on the data base. Click on thumbnails to access and enlarge images.

Click on the icon labelled 'Listen' above each enlarged image to hear the call of your frog.

In addition, you can listen to a full 40 minute narrated recording of all the frog calls.

Please Note: you may need to download the free RealOne Playerto hear the frog calls.

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8. Your Report

Once you have finished the searches outlined above, you are ready to write your report. You may decide to supplement the data you have obtained with information from reference books in your library. This may provide you with additional information on frogs in general, or on the frog you have chosen.

If the frog you have chosen is found in your district, you may also decide to carry out several frog observation field trips (in the warmer months), or you may be able to obtain information on frog sightings from your parents, neighbours or local naturalists. This will provide you with some indication of whether the number of frogs in your district has changed over the years.

A species identificaton key is provided to assist you with the identification of frogs:

Identification of Possible Species

When you feel you have enough material, you should write a report on your chosen frog. The reports on each frog can then be combined into a report on the Frogs of Victoria, and presented as:

  • a school project
  • a talk to your class or to a parents meeting
  • a talk on the local radio station
  • an article for the school magazine or the local paper

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