T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Frog (Green & Golden Bell Frog) Litoria aurea

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Hylidae
Genus: Litoria
Species: L. aurea
Binomial name: Litoria aurea
Common name: Green and Golden Bell Frog, Green Bell Frog, Green and Golden Swamp Frog and Green Frog

Litoria aurea is a ground-dwelling tree frog native to eastern Australia. In the late 1860s, several consignments of these frogs were received from Sydney and released by the Auckland Acclimatisation Society. The climatic conditions restrict the species to the upper half of the North Island where they are abundant. They typically inhabit freshwater ponds that are still, shallow and have emergent vegetation such as reeds, bulrushes and flaxes for basking. The frog is well-equipped for survival on land. They can rehydrate by absorbing moisture through their ventral skin, and evaporative water loss occurs at a very low rate indicative of a watertight skin. Some have been observed up to 400 m from the nearest body of water. 

Litoria aurea is a large, stout frog; adults range from 4.5 to 11 centimetres in length; typical specimens measure 6 to 8 centimetres. The males are smaller than females. They are coloured gold and green. The colour and markings can vary during the year depending on their activity and the air temperature. They can also darken in this way by simply staying in a dark place for a few minutes and the colour can also evolve during the frog's lifetime. A creamy-white or pale yellow stripe, bordered above with gold and below with black, extends from behind the eye, across the typically copper-coloured tympanum to the groin. This stripe rises to form a dorsolateral fold towards the groin. Another stripe of the same colour begins below the eye and continues to the shoulder. The abdomen is cream or white and has a coarsely granular texture. The legs are green, bronze, or a combination of both, and the inside thigh and groin are blue-green. The fingers are not webbed but the toes are.

Litoria aurea are voracious eaters of insects such as crickets, larvae, mosquito wrigglers, dragonflies, earthworms, cockroaches, flies and grasshoppers. It is also known to eat freshwater crayfish and slugs but they also eat larger prey such as mice. They are usually seen basking in the sun. These species engage in cannibalism, males frequently attack and injure one another if they come within 1 m of each other.

When handled, this species secretes a slimy acrid mucus which consists of 17 aurein peptides. Thirteen of these show broad-spectrum antibiotic and anti-cancer activity, which is useful in fighting off harmful microorganisms. The secretion makes the frog slippery and hard to grip and is poisonous to some other species of frogs, so it is a useful defensive tool. Although they can climb trees most of their time is spent within 10 cm of the ground. They rarely venture more than a metre above the ground. 
The tadpoles are large and can reach 80 millimetres in length and feed on detritus, algae, bacteria and aquatic life.

The call of the Green and Gold Bell frog:  http://www.doc.govt.nz/pagefiles/3018/aurea.wav

A  Litoria aurea with a darker colouration

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/