Habitat Ecology Information

What’s Lurking In Your Backyard? – #43 Eastern Banjo Frog

This series looks at the variety of fauna that may be found in the suburban backyard or local reserve and the diversity may be surprising to some people. The obvious fauna are the vast array of birds that are readily seen by day and some by night, but there are numerous species that are nocturnal. Some of these nocturnal species people are familiar with as they tramp across the roof at night with what sounds like hobnail boots on, or they hear fighting in the backyard over food and territory. Others are cryptic and may only be seen infrequently when they enter the house for warmth and shelter. Each week I will highlight a different species that may be found in and around Melbourne’s backyards, parks and reserves, some may be familiar others less so.

#43 Eastern Banjo Frog
(Limnodynastes dumerilii)

This frog is a regular in our backyard. Often called a “pobblebonk” due to its distinctive call which is a “bonk” rather than a croak that is repeated several times. Usually more active after heavy rains when they will start to migrate to find mates they can be found living in waterways, ponds and dams as well as backyard environments. These are burrowing frogs that use their powerful hind legs to dig backwards into the ground where it can remain until it rains. Th efemal utilise these hind legs during egg laying to create a frothy mass that enables the egg mass to float on the surface.

There are five subspecies of Eastern Banjo Frog. Colouring varies but most will be brown or grey-brown back, with orange or yellow mottling on the sides. There is a pale or yellow stripe from under the eye to the shoulder. The belly is mottled brown and yellow, and the throat is sometimes yellow with the most common being recognised by its light brown skin which is heavily mottles with dark brown or steel grey and quite warty. They can grow up to 8cm in length with the fingers unwebbed and toes one-quarter webbed. There are no discs on the toes or fingers.

Breeding occurs during the spring and summer with males compete for the attention of emerging females by utilising their calls. After ating the eggs are laid in a foamy mass on the surface of water were the inhabit. Egg clutches can be up to 4000 in number floating in the forthy mass. Tadpoles when hatched may take several months before they develop into frogs.

Diet of these frogs consists of insects, spiders and worms.

Conservation Status in Victoria: “Secure”

Habitat Ecology 2021

References:

Wildlife Victoria: https://www.wildlife.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0023/91643/Pobblebonk.pdf

Australian Museum: https://australian.museum/learn/animals/frogs/eastern-pobblebonk-frog/

Backyard Buddies: https://backyardbuddies.org.au/backyard-buddies/eastern-banjo-frogs/