Wildlife Research Wildlife Research Society
Ecology, management and conservation in natural and modified habitats
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Movement patterns and habitat use of rainforest stream frogs in northern Queensland, Australia: implications for extinction vulnerability

Jodi J. L. Rowley A B and Ross A. Alford A

A School of Marine and Tropical Biology, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld 4811, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Present address: Conservation International Indo-Burma, PO Box 1356, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Email: Jodi.Rowley@gmail.com

Wildlife Research 34(5) 371-378 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR07014
Submitted: 7 February 2007  Accepted: 13 July 2007   Published: 6 September 2007

Abstract

Amphibians are one of the most highly threatened groups of animals, but their effective conservation is hampered by a paucity of basic ecological knowledge, particularly for tropical stream-breeding species, in which declines have been most common and severe. We examined the movement patterns and habitat use of three stream-breeding frog species at five sites in northern Queensland, Australia. Movement and habitat use differed significantly among species. Litoria lesueuri moved more frequently and greater distances than did our other study species, and was often located away from streams, moving between intact rainforest and highly disturbed environments. Litoria genimaculata moved less frequently and shorter distances and was more restricted to stream environments compared with L. lesueuri, but was often located in the canopy. L. genimaculata occasionally moved large distances along and between streams, but was never located outside of intact rainforest. Litoria nannotis moved almost as frequently as the other species, but remained in streams during the day, did not move large distances along or between streams, and was always located within intact rainforest. Because of its sedentary behaviour, narrow habitat tolerance and affinity for stream environments, L. nannotis may be more vulnerable to extinction in human-modified landscapes compared with L. lesueuri and L. genimaculata.


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