Frog (Southern Bell) Litoria raniformis
Species: L. raniformis
Binomial name: Litoria raniformis
Common name: Southern Bell Frog, Growling Grass Frog, Warty Swamp Frog
Litoria raniformis is a large ground-dwelling tree frog up to10cm from snout to vent. This species was introduced to New Zealand in the late 1860s from Tasmania by the Canterbury Acclimatisation Society. These frogs have been very successful in New Zealand and can now be found throughout most of the country.
It is a mottled bright green and bronze colour above, often with dark brown enameled bumps. It has a pale cream underside, with a faint cobbling pattern. There is a pale stripe running from the side of the head down the flanks as a skin fold. The thighs are blue-green in colour. They generally have more dark brown or black blotches on the back and there is always a pale green stripe down the middle of their back (although this can change in intensity depending upon environmental conditions). There are a series of shallow bumps over its back.
The tympanum (a hearing organ/gland in frogs and toads, a flat oval on both sides of a frog's head) is visible in this frog. New Zealand native frogs have no tympanum.
These frogs are the largest frogs to be found in New Zealand with females reaching over 100mm. The tadpoles are also very large and often have a coppery pigment along their sides and an iridescent green sheen along their backbone. These frogs stay in tadpole stage for at least one year.
The males develop black rough nuptial pads on their thumbs during the breeding season, which occurs during spring through to late summer. The eggs (up to several thousand) are distributed in a loose pile.
This species is associated with large swamps, permanent dams, ponds and lakes (particularly ones with reeds) in woodland, shrubland, open and coastal areas. This frog is an agile climber, but is most often found amongst dense reeds or long swampy grasslands. This frog hunts and basks in the sun during the day. The call is a three part moaning "Craw-ork ar-ar", rising and then falling in tone. The males develop black rough nuptial pads on their thumbs during the breeding season, which occurs during spring through to late summer.
The call of the Southern Bell frog: http://www.doc.govt.nz/pagefiles/3018/raniformis.wav
Present in New Plymouth.
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