The Striped Marsh Frog, Limnodynastes peronii, is a fairly large species, growing up to 75 mm in length, with prominent alternate light and dark stripes and a narrow, pale mid-vertebral stripe on a light brown or grey-brown background.
Striped Marsh FrogPhotographer: Peter Robertson / Source: Wildlife Profiles Pty. Ltd.
It is widespread across southern Victoria and occurs throughout the entire Melbourne area in wetlands. It is usually found calling from vegetation beside pools or hiding under fallen logs.
Adults eat a variety of foods, including smaller frogs. Females lay their eggs in floating foam masses attached to vegetation in still waters. Tadpoles grow to a maximum length of 60 mm.
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.
Hi Ben, there are two types of Marsh Frog - the Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes peroni) and the Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis). They look very similar and have similar distributions and life styles, and both occur in Sydney, but your frogs are most likely to be the latter.
Marsh Frogs can be common in suburban areas and many gardeners build frog bogs to encourage them. Having frogs in your backyard can be a sign of a healthy environment, particularly if they've moved in of their own accord. You can't be fined for having them there, so just sit back and enjoy them.
The slime may have been produced by the trapped leaves soaking in rainwater rather than being produced by the frog itself. The best option is to let the frog out by placing a stick for it to climb, or by lifting it out by hand. Although Striped Marsh Frogs (Limnodynastes peroni) can be kept as pets, they must be obtained from a licenced breeder and not collected from your garden.
Whilst goldfish may eat frog eggs and tadpoles, they are unlikely to consume a metamorph frog (froglet). Your pond was obviously a good habitat for the frog's parents, and with plenty of plants around the edges the froglet should be able to avoid the water-bound fish if you release it now.
Hi Rosalie, tadpoles are generally herbivorous or feed on pond detritus, but some of the larger species or individuals will feed on mosquito wrigglers. Removing the wrigglers by hand or a small net would not harm the tadpoles, which are likely to move to the bottom of the pond during the process. You could also add native fish species to the pond, as many species will eat mosquito wrigglers but leave the tadpoles alone. The Crimson-Spotted Rainbow Fish (Melanotaenia splendida) is one example from northern Victoria. Mosquitoes don't like disturbed water surfaces, so any disruption using sprinklers, bubblers or similar could reduce the number of mosquitoes.
Tadpoles naturally feed on algae and in captivity will feed on boiled lettuce and cabbage, as well as some components of commercial fish food and the algae growing on the sides of the tank. So as you've probably already discovered they are not cannibalistic. Tadpoles of this species (Limnodynastes peronii) will happily live in large groups within a single tank, and 200 should be fine when they are still young. As the tadpoles increase in size, however, you may find it increasingly difficult to keep the water clean with the higher biological load, and they may simply run out of room. Returning captive frogs to the wild can be dangerous as it runs the risk of spreading chytrid fungus, and keeping native animals should always be done on the proviso that you have a plan for any offspring (or do what you can to prevent offspring being generated). Also, the licences cover the keeping of the species but not collection from the wild, even from your own garden. In all cases, the frogs need to be obtained from licenced sellers.
Frog mass deaths are disturbing but difficult to resolve. The best option is to keep an eye on the general conditions and try to link any changes (no matter how subtle) to impacts on the frog population.
Few frogs from temperate regions are poisonous or exude toxins from their skin. Toads can exude toxins and, in Australia, the Cane Toad is highly poisonous to animals. If you are unsure of whether your cat caught a frog or a toad: Frogs have wet skin and long hind legs and toads have dry skin and short hind legs.
The toxins are fast acting and your cat would have developed symptoms quickly. It is best to call your veterinarian as soon as possible.
A number of species of toads (such as Cane Toads) and tropical frogs (such as Poison Arrow Frogs) are toxic and often fatal to almost all animals that consume them, but this is generally not the case with temperate frog species. The froth you saw was probably generated by the frog in reaction to being attacked, or may have been produced by the cat’s mouth in response to the frog. Spotted Marsh Frogs (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis) are not known to be poisonous.
Frogs are good at deciding on suitable environments. If the pool is suitable and the food supply is sufficient it will hang around; if not it will move on to a more suitable habitat. So if you’re happy for it to be there, the best option is to leave it alone. You are more likely, however, to have a Pobblebonk (Limnodynastes dumerilii) than a Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis).
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Thanks for sharing this, you certainly have a remarkable example of a magpie nest!
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