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
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

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 https://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.


Acknowledgements

This research was supported by funding from the Australian Geographic Society, the Society for the Study of Amphibian and Reptiles, the Peter Rankin Trust Fund for Herpetology, the Australian Government Department of Environment and Heritage, and from US National Science Foundation Integrated Research Challenges in Environmental Biology grant DEB-0213851, and was carried out under Scientific Purposes Permits issued by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (WISP01715204 and WITK01715604) as approved by the James Cook University Animal Care and Ethics Committee (A863). JJLR was supported by an Australian Postgraduate Research Scholarship. Thanks to the many volunteers who assisted in the field and to J. D. Roberts, R. Puschendorf, L. Schwarzkopf, B. Windmiller and two anonymous reviewers for many helpful comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript.


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