Spotted Marsh Frog Limnodynastes tasmaniensis

Frogs of Victoria series

Identification

The Spotted Marsh Frog, Limnodynastes tasmaniensis, is a light brown to olive green frog with a series of fairly regular blotched green patches along its back. In the Melbourne area, most Spotted Marsh Frogs have a vertebral stipe that is sometimes reddish in colour. They grow to a maximum length of around 50 mm.

Photo of Spotted Marsh Frog, Limnodynastes tasmaniensis

Spotted Marsh Frog
Photographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty. Ltd.

Distribution and habitat

This is a widespread species found throughout most areas of Melbourne. It usually shelters under logs and stones on the edge of swamps, ponds and lagoons.

Biology

The diet consists mainly of invertebrates. Eggs are laid in floating foam masses on still waters and hatch after a few days. Tadpoles grow to a maximum length of 60 mm and take up to 5 months to develop into frogs.

Further Reading

Barker, J., Grigg, G. and Tyler, M. J. 1995. A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Sydney.

Cogger, H. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. Reed Books, Sydney.

Hero, J. M., Littlejohn, M. & Marantelli, G. 1991. Frogwatch Field Guide to Victorian Frogs. Department of Conservation and Environment, East Melbourne.

Tyler, M. J. 1992. Encyclopaedia of Australian Animals: Frogs. Angus & Robertson, Sydney.

Comments (43)

sort by
newest
oldest
Jemma 10 November, 2009 10:33
Hi, my name is Jemma and I am studying the Spotted Marsh Frog, i need information about them. About their Life, Breeding, Food Supply and Habitat. Also on how all of those subjects are protected now, like short term effects and long term effects. Please write back, Thankyou
reply
Discovery Centre 10 November, 2009 11:56

Thanks for your questions.  The list of books that you will find above are all great resources to help you with your research.  The books are all available in the Discovery Cenre library and you are most welcome to come in and access them.  There are also some websites listed above that will also be interesting for you, you can even listen to a frog call!

reply
Gabby 26 March, 2010 11:43
Hi, I think we have spotted marsh frogs some with the red stripe and some without in an old well on out farmlet in Bacchus Marsh. As far as I can tell they have no way of getting out of the water, should wemake a ramp for them?
reply
Discovery Centre 29 March, 2010 16:20

Hi Gabby - Spotted Marsh Frogs may have trouble getting back out of the water in the situation you have described as they do not have enlarged toe pads like the tree frogs, and therefore cannot climb well (pardon the pun). In this case a ramp or some other object that gives them easier option to leave the water would be a good idea.

reply
Millie 18 April, 2010 18:19
How long does it take for a spotted marsh frog to turn into a baby frog from a tadpole, because I have 2 of them and I really want them to turn into little frogs
reply
Discovery Centre 20 April, 2010 11:38

Hi there, Millie. According to the "Field Guide to Australian Frogs," the larval life of this species is 3-5 months. Hope this helps!

reply
Annette 8 September, 2010 16:44
My tadpoles are turning into frogs. As they are in an aquarium at the moment, what can I feed the frogs?
reply
Discovery Centre 13 September, 2010 08:54
When you have tadpoles that are metamorphosing into frogs there are a whole lot of changes happening within their body. You need to leave them in the water until their front two legs pop out. At this point they need to have access to land so that once they are ready they can 'walk' out. At this point in their life they are reabsorbing their tail that is providing all the energy requirements they need so there is no need to feed them. Once they are on the land and are small frogs they are predators and should be fed small insects such as cockroaches and crickets.
reply
Maddie 5 October, 2010 20:42
I have found a Spotted Marsh frog in my swimming pool. At the moment I have it in my sink. Would it be safe to let it go in the river or a creek?
reply
Discovery Centre 7 October, 2010 11:09
Hi Maddie, the information sheet notes that this species usually shelters under logs and stones at the edge of swamps, ponds and lagoons. So if you have a water body anywhere near you like this that would be the perfect place to release it. Well done for checking the correct place to release it.
reply
gabriele 26 February, 2011 10:22
i have a spotted marsh frog found under my mat along my fence line were would be a suitable place to relese in my yard because my matt is not there now
reply
Discovery Centre 1 March, 2011 16:18

Hi Gabriele,

As it says above, a good place is under logs and stones on the edge of swamps, ponds and lagoons. Hope this helps!

reply
Ashley 18 April, 2011 13:40
hey, i have 2 spotted marsh frogs and on has a strip down its back and the other one doesn't its just like the one above but with more green spots. how do i tell if their a male or a female.
reply
Discovery Centre 24 April, 2011 10:19

Hi Ashley, the vertebral stripe is a common morphological variation in this species and is unrelated to sex. Determining sex in this species is a little tricky, males may have a dark yellowy-green throat patch. Also, if they are calling, you can hear the call here on the Museum Victoria website, then it is definitely a male. If it is breeding season, males will also have dark-brown nuptial pads on fingers.

reply
Michelle 2 May, 2011 00:03
We have a 2000litre frog pond in the front yard which attracts loads of frogs including Perons, Striped and Spotted Marsh, Verreaux's, Eastern Dwarf, Bleating, Broad Palmed Rocketfrogs. But the pond itself is dominated by Spotted Marsh frogs. Males often wrestle and try to drown eachother for the best position. Today I was shocked to find a mating going on in the middle of the pond in broad daylight. On closer inspection I saw it was a spotted marsh frog on the back of a Verreaux's Frog(I think - a whistling tree frog) No, No, No, I thought - no cross-breading in my pond please. Took a couple of pics and went out for lunch. Returned hours later to find the Verreaux's frog deceased and floating on the surface, being consumed by tadpoles and an aquatic snail. I now realise that mean spotted marsh frog had the Verreaux's frog in a sumo hold, slowly drowning it. They are fierce combatants and defend their pond to the death. The pond needs a sign "Beware - spotted marsh frogs on patrol"
reply
tya 29 August, 2011 10:20
I bought a spotted marsh frog for a school project but he's really abnormaly giant and im a bit worried that he's not eating. i've tried algae wafers, fresh algae, breadcrumbs and even fish food. also is there any bad food for them ???
reply
Discovery Centre 23 September, 2011 08:50
Hi Tya, thanks for your enquiry. I’m assuming you’re talking about an adult frog but it may also be a tadpole. Algae and fish food would be okay for a tadpole but not an adult frog. And neither the tadpoles nor adult frogs would eat breadcrumbs. Adults should be fed live food (cockroaches, crickets, flies) but try to avoid mealworms due to their chitinous shell – frogs have trouble digesting it.

If it’s a large frog, it’s probably not had trouble eating, unless it has a water retention issue or some other condition. The most important thing is to offer it the right kind of food, and then it’s health should be fine.

reply
Danny 6 October, 2011 17:25
Hi, our dog has started to eat frogs, are these frogs poisons ?.
reply
Gabi 11 October, 2011 22:48
I have 5 spotted marsh frogs in a large tank and was wondering if it was possible to introduce a species of fish with the frogs?
reply
Discovery Centre 14 October, 2011 16:39

Hi Gabi, There are some frog friendly species of fish, but only to a limited extent. The best three species would be Murray River Rainbows, Whiteclouds or Zebra Danios.

reply
Lucy 18 October, 2011 07:59
Hi, I have 4 spotted marsh frogs - 3 of them are happily eating crickets and growing but the 4th does not seem to be getting bigger and seems more and more lethargic :( I have been putting baby pinhead crickets in with him but he does not seem to be interested. What can I do?? Would it help to make his environment warmer?? Thanks for your help!
close this reply
Write your reply to Lucy's comment All fields are required

We love receiving comments, but can’t always respond.

Discovery Centre 20 October, 2011 10:52

Hi Lucy - we checked with one of our keepers on this, and they have said the following:

It is common when you start with any group of animals that some will do better than others. One will be outcompeted by the others and will quickly fall behind. As the others grow, they are stronger and can further outcompete the straggler causing him to fall further behind. Separating the straggler and intensively target feeding him is probably the best thing. Usually when they catch up to the others they can be re-introduced.

Spotted marsh usually do fine at normal room temps. Without more info on the husbandry conditions all we can suggest is maintain all the obvious things such as clean enclosure, fresh water and good food. The crickets should be dusted every second feed or so with a good quality calcium and vitamin supplement.


All this is assuming it is not something more sinister such as a disease or infection. As with all animals if unsure , a visit to the vet may be the best option.

Hope this helps


reply
Discovery Centre 2 November, 2011 16:18

Hi Lucy, this question was referred to our resident frog expert in our Live Exhibits staff here at Melbourne Museum, who has the following reply for your query:

An accurate response to your questions would require more information, such as - How old/big are the frogs? Are they kept together? Enclosure size and set-up? It is common when you start with any group of animals that some will do better than others. One will be outcompeted by the others and will quickly fall behind. As the others grow, they are stronger and can further outcompete the straggler causing him to fall further behind. Separating the straggler and intensively target feeding him is probably the best thing. Usually when they catch up to the others they can be re-introduced.
If it is a recent metamorph it may just not be meant to survive. Even in the best set-ups with the utmost care there can be a certain amount of mortality when raising frogs. This is one reason they produce such large numbers of young. Spotted marsh usually do fine at normal room temps. Without more info on the husbandry conditions all i can suggest is maintain all the usual things such as clean enclosure, fresh water and good food. The crickets should be dusted every second feed or so with a good quality calcium and vitamin supplement such as Repcal and Herptivite.

All this is assuming it is not something more sinister such as a disease or infection. As with all animals if unsure, a visit to the vet may be the best option.

reply
Louise 19 December, 2011 11:20
I think I have a spotted marsh frog but it doesn't look like that picture but it matches other pictures on Google. It is darkish brown with a yellowish stripe and dark brown spots. He/She is very small so i have been feeding him/her aphids. I am worried because I haven't seen him/her eating. the water is starting to look a little bit gross. can I just add water? or do I have to use rainwater? PLEASE HELP ME!
reply
Discovery Centre 19 December, 2011 14:02

Hi Leanne, as far as we know spotted marsh frogs don’t require a licence but taking them out of the wild is illegal. So the best thing to do is put it back where you found it or in the safest water body nearby. If you have it in captivity legally, ie you bought it from a supplier, then you need to aerate the water with a water stone or pump and change it completely every week if it is a small body of water or every second week if it's a medium amount of volume. You need to feed it  pinhead crickets with calcium and reptile/amphibian vitamin powder dusted over the crickets. It also  will require a UV light that is attached above the tank and on for maybe 4-5 hours a day. Provide shade for it during this time in case it needs to escape the light or they can burn.

Change the water only with rainwater or with tap water that has sat in a bowl for 20 hours. This allows the chlorine to evaporate. Don’t forget the calcium and vitamin powder on the crickets, its really important or they get brittle bones.

reply
mik 28 February, 2012 02:11
We quite often get spotted marsh frogs coming into our house, we live on point cook road and across from us there is a pond/marsh, we generally only see these when its been raining quite a lot.
reply
Lisa 1 March, 2012 16:26
We have some tadpoles living in a blocked drainage ditch outside our house, but the water appears to be evaporating. Is it safe to add more water from the tap, or do I need to start practicing a rain dance? (We're in Brisbane.)
reply
Discovery Centre 3 March, 2012 09:41
Hi Lisa - There are a couple of considerations here; one option is to add some tapwater (so long as the water isnt too heavily chlorinated), although it depends on your philosophy on 'interfering with nature'. If your water supply is treated with chlorine or other such chemicals, you can possibly boil some tapwater (make sure you let it go cold!) and add that, but also keep in mind the tadpoles could potentially be Cane Toads, which as an aggressively invasive species don't have many advocates on their salvation when compared to native species. If you think a rain dance is neccessary or will help, by all means give it a go!
julie 28 July, 2012 22:27
Could you give me some info on dusting food with calcium for spotted marsh frogs? I understand it is for healthy bones, but what is different to being in the wild, where their food is not dusted. I have put a UVB light on their enclosure? At the moment they are feeding on crickets, what other suggestions do you have other than flys and roaches.
reply
Discovery Centre 2 August, 2012 11:18

Hi Julie, crickets, cockroaches and mealworms are the standard food for frogs in captivity, but any insects of a suitable size will do. Worms, maggots and waxworms may also be available from pet shops, and it also helps to collect insects from the wild if they’re available. The more variety the better.

Because most people get their insects from pet shops and because there often isn’t a great variety, calcium dusting has become standard to make up for any potential dietary deficiency. The frogs may well survive without it, but it’s an added insurance for healthy frogs.

reply
Alexandra 25 September, 2012 13:28
Hello. I am researching possibility of purchasing some spotted marsh frogs for our soon-to-be garden ponds. I note in other posts above that you suggest fish species such as Murray river rainbows, whiteclouds and zebra damos can live in the same pond without preying on frogs/juveniles/tadpoles. I understand that the native fish species - Australian Smelt is also a good choice. My question is whether you believe the adult frogs would be inclined to eat the young fish? Would be grateful for your thoughts. Thank you in anticipation, Alexandra.
reply
Julie 2 February, 2013 08:50
I have 7 spotted marsh frogs set up in a tank indoors. There are 2 males and 5 females and they changed into frogs about 6 months ago. This morning there are eggs in the tank!! Do I leave them or do I need to put them in a seperate tank. Once they hatch they would probably get sucked up by the filter. Any info would be great. cheers Julie
reply
Discovery Centre 7 February, 2013 11:05

Hi Julie - we ran this question past our Live Exhibits team here, and they have provided the following response:

The eggs will get sucked up by the filter unless you take steps to protect them. Some breeders move the eggs to a new tank to keep them separate from the adult frogs and from feed crickets, but eggs often don’t do well after moving so it’s generally safer to leave them where they are. You can cover the filter inlet with mesh, or for a more complicated setup you can build a mesh box around it to ensure a constant flow of water.

Once the eggs hatch, the tadpoles should be separated from the adults if you want as many of them to mature as possible.

We hope this helps!

Denise 18 July, 2013 14:15
Hi Julie- I have a female and male spotted marsh frog but lately the female has not been getting under cover and spending most of her time in the water which she hasnt been doing wondering if maybe she is sick. Can u help please ?
reply
Discovery Centre 23 July, 2013 10:38

Hi Denise, it’s hard to say what the reasons might be without knowing more about your set-up and what conditions may have changed recently. She may be responding to a change in environmental conditions that may even be too subtle for you to notice. However, as a general rule any change in an animal’s behaviour can mean something is wrong with the animal, so if you’re concerned at all the best option is to take your frog to a vet.

India 17 August, 2013 10:20
Hi,i have three spotted marsh frogs that i bought as tadpoles at a local pet shop 6 years ago. at night i can hear them croaking "tick Tock" noises. i was wondering how you can tell if they're male or female? and all three have yellow spots under there back legs, i wanted to know if that is a problem or if it is normal?
reply
Discovery Centre 5 September, 2013 11:39

Hi India - here is some information for you from our Live Exhibits staff.

The easiest way to sex Spotted Marsh Frogs (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis) is that the males call audibly. During the breeding season males also have dark-brown nuptial pads on the fingers to aid during amplexis (mating).

When the frogs are still young, both sexes may have white under the chin but males later develop a dark olive patch under the chin. If the frogs were bought as tadpoles six years ago they will all be well and truly mature by now.

This species is particularly variable in colour and pattern, and yellow spots under the legs are nothing to be concerned about.

Jasmine 23 September, 2013 07:34
Hi, I have a spotted marsh frog and a striped marsh frog, they were bought from a supplier as tadpoles.. Recently they just had tadpoles, so many tadpoles! I'm just wondering what I should do with the babies? They're growing really quickly and the tank is not big enough to keep them! HELP!
reply
Discovery Centre 26 September, 2013 13:22

Hi Jasmine,

Thank you for your question, you were correct in asking for help and not releasing the tadpoles! All frogs, tadpoles, and spawn are protected in Victoria, but some species can be kept under licence. The collection of frogs from the wild or the release of frogs to the wild is prohibited. The release of frogs to your backyard or the raising of tadpoles for the purpose of release is also illegal, and this is mainly to stop diseases potentially picked up in captivity from being spread to wild populations.

The Licensing Unit of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries is responsible for the Victorian regulations, if you require more information. The only option open to you is give the tadpoles away to a pet shop. Many pet shops are licensed to trade in frogs and most of these will welcome new stocks of tadpoles, particularly if they are offered for free.

Good luck finding them a new home!

sharvari 23 September, 2013 19:57
the first link you gave us talks about a tree!
reply
Goodstart kinder room 3 June, 2014 14:45
Hello, My daughter's creche has an aquarium of spotted marsh frogs and most turned into adults at the start of the year. There are however two huge tadpoles that came from the same batch of eggs and they show no signs of turning into frogs and they are approx 8 months old now. The tadpoles are at least double the size of the adult frogs. I asked the carers if they could be different species and they were adamant that the aquarium contents all hatched from the same batch of eggs. What possible cause is keeping the tadpoles from reaching maturity? The aquarium is not aerated, contains some matter for the adults to be partially land based and the majority of the tank is under water. thanks
reply
jksdjkjkdjksd 17 June, 2014 12:52
what do they eat?
reply
Maite 19 August, 2014 21:32
Hello, I have some newly hatched Spotted Marsh Frogs and I wonder when would best time to release them into our outdoor enclosure. My husband has a licence to keep them but is fearful of the present season Melbourne weather. My point of view was that they should be released as they would find a more natural habitat outdoors and need to develop their instinct. they are about one centimetre square but can hop. The outdoor enclosure would be shared with some young water dragons which are sleeping at the moment. I think it would be ideal for them as they would not yet have to manoover around them and the frogs could have time to build up their physical aptitudes. The pond is surrounded with native vegetation and landscape and is a home to a regular insect fauna. Could you please help us in this decision?
reply