Froggy Romeos crying out for good loving
LOVE is in the air with the rain tumbling down on the Sunshine Coast and Mary Valley as residents are serenaded to the croaking sounds of frisky male frogs looking for an amphibious hook up.
Drenching rains have fallen right on queue for the Mary River Cathcment co-ordinating Committee's annual Find a Frog in February headcount as locals beat about their yards, creeks and local marshes for sightings of these creatures who are supposed to be telltales of our local environment.
MCCC frog finding co-ordinator Eva Ford said there are few locals who would not be hearing the frogs above the falling rains.
"This amazing group of animals need water to breed and complete their lifecycle," Ms Ford said.
"Right now the conditions are ripe for egg-laying, and that is what all the noise is about.
"Males do all the calling … the females silently choosing from the crowd."
Ms Ford said male graceful treefrogs, (Litoria gracilenta) "have been singing the very best song they can produce".
"They have a wonderful habit of calling in unison with a long, drawn-out 'growl' while flashing the purple of their thighs," she said.
The Find a Frog in February annually calls on citizen scientists for the wildlife survey that covers from Peregian to Burrum Heads and the hinterlands from Maleny to Brooweena, to wander out at night to look and listen out for frogs.
"If we know where frogs live and what they need then we can better conserve habitats and reduce on the various threats that cause declines," she said.
"One third of the frogs worldwide are under threat of extinction, and in this part of the world 10 of our 40 plus frog species are either threatened or have disappeared.
"Frogs are generally very sensitive to environmental conditions and there are changes going on that even we humans are detecting in our daily lives."
Tonight Ms Ford will be out and about at Mapleton frog watching with local students as the MCCC enlists more schools to carry regular monitoring of frog habitat.
As well the Noosa District High School students have the eyes and ears peeled around 100m of creek bank where last year they spotted a couple of the endangered great barred frogs.
Ms Ford said it's too early to tell final numbers of frogs spotted, but the initial feedback from frog spotters has been that the "frogs are not so noisy".
"We get used to this great cacophony after it rains, but I know at my place at Traveston, they are not as noisy this year," she said.
"The rain was late and they had this big, long dry spell before they arrived. So I don't know if that means the numbers have dropped or the conditions are not as good for making the boys call.
"That's why we want to get into monitoring, we want to know what's happening year after year after."
Ms Ford said it could be the window of opportunity for them to mate is closing in with ongoing dry periods and this season they have only had the once chance to reproduce.
Find a Frog in February welcomes all records from members of the public. Photos and/or call recordings are easy to obtain on phones. Send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to the MRCCC website for full details and useful information/links.
Ms Ford thanked the ongoing support from the Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Gympie and Fraser Coast councils.