Frogs go a hopping in the rains

Mon 22 Feb 

Frogs go a hopping in the rains

By Roy Weavers

Apparently there has been a massive surge in the population of native frogs in outback Queensland thanks to the recent big rains and flooding. Scientists say there are about 40 frog species living in the Lake Eyre Basin but they are hoping to uncover new species in the wet conditions.


A spokesman for natural resource management group Desert Channels Queensland, Steve Wilson, says frogs are an excellent indicator of the health of the environment.


"70% of their respiration occurs not only through their lungs but also through their skin so they are great environmental indicators because they are absorbing any contaminants a lot earlier than a lot of other species are," Mr Wilson said.


"So if your landscapes are still holding good healthy frog populations it's a fair indication of the health of your ecosystems."


Mr Wilson says the native tree and burrowing frogs are all breeding in the current wet conditions. "We've had all these successive floods which have put anything from up to half a metre of water over the landscape which is just ideal for frogs because you've got shallow, warm water and the frogs can lay their eggs against the floating vegetation," he said.


"It's a really interesting system because you've got these boom-bust cycles and frogs make use of those short windows of opportunity." In their defence, he said cane toads do not seem to be making too much of an impact on their population.


Editor’s comment: I don’t need a scientist telling me the frogs are doing well in my backyard, the bl**dy things make such a racket it’s impossible to sleep through their chorus.  Still it’s nice to know that it means my backyard must be in reasonable shape as ‘eco-friendly’ goes, so I suppose I should be pleased, at least the gardening in the family should be…well done Annie