Australia's Armoured Mist Frog Range Expanded
Australia's armoured mist frog (Litoria lorica), long thought wiped out by Chytridiomycosis until a population was found in 2008, has had some of its population relocated from the Carbine Tablelands of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area where they were found six years ago. James Cook University scientists Dr. Conrad Hoskin and Dr. Robert Puschendorf surveyed the amphibians found them in a single stream area and because of this, the Australian government made the decision to move 20 male and 20 female armored mist frogs from the stream to a new location about four kilometers upstream from where the original population is located.
According to media reports, 17 of the females were carrying eggs, so it is hoped that they will lay eggs at the new site soon. Dr Hoskin will revisit the new location in one month to gauge the initial success of the relocation and will further monitor the site as well as the original site over the next five years to see how the frog is doing.
The armoured mist frog was thought to have been totally wiped out by the chytrid fungus, but it was learned that the population found in 2008 has been living with the disease by moving from its traditional wet habitat to a drier environment. Dr. Robert Puschendorf and his colleagues in 2011 determined that the armoured mist frogs in this location was not only infected with the chytrid fungus, but was actually thriving. These frogs were discovered in an area that had less rainfall near the rainforest that was drier and had warmed rocks in which they could perch on. It is believed that these conditions slowed the growth of the fungus.
The armoured mist frog is a small tree frog that is associated with fast flowing creeks and streams. It grows to about 1.5 inches in length and is grey or grey-brown in coloration on its back area and white on its belly. It is on the IUCN Red List as a critically endangered species.