Systematic (time constrained) and targeted surveys were conducted from 1996-2014 for the green and golden bell frog Litoria aurea on the Crookhaven River floodplain, east of Nowra on the south coast of New South Wales. In April 2008, a large number of metamorphlings were observed at Brundee Swamp Nature Reserve. This was followed by a significant recruitment of frogs so that by February 2010 L. aurea were recorded breeding nearby in Worrigee and Terara Swamps. At the end of April 2010 tens of thousands of metamorphling L. aurea dispersed from these wetlands across the floodplain. So-called explosive breeding events have been reported for this species before but never have they been documented. In December 2010 L. aurea again bred in Worrigee (and presumably Terara Swamp) and in early April 2011 adult and sub-adult animals appeared to have dispersed a distance of approximately 4 km south-west and 11 km to the south-east of Brundee Swamp. This expansion in distribution and abundance resulted in the recolonisation of historic L. aurea sites at Culburra and colonisation of other parts of the catchments where the species was never previously recorded. The recovery was not sustained and from March 2013 to March 2014 the species had declined in abundance and distribution. Most of the recorded breeding occurred in ephemeral wetlands: dispersal from these sites involved movements over highly modified rural and urban landscapes. Refuge sites populated outside the breeding events were strongly associated with stands of Cumbungi Typha spp. in drainage systems. These observations illustrate that historic and potential habitat of L. aurea should not be disregarded, even if the species has been absent for a considerable period. More effective management of L. aurea by government agencies requires a whole of landscape approach.
From rags to riches and back again: fluctuations in the Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea population at Nowra on the south coast of New South Wales
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Garry Daly; From rags to riches and back again: fluctuations in the Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea population at Nowra on the south coast of New South Wales. Australian Zoologist 1 January 2014; 37 (2): 157–172. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2014.027
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