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Healesville Sanctuary

Spotted Tree Frog

The Spotted Tree Frog, Litoria spenceri, is a mountain stream frog species from north-eastern Victoria and southern New South Wales. The Spotted Tree Frog is listed as Critically Endangered: like many other Australian and international amphibians, populations have declined in recent years. 

Due to predation by trout and habitat disturbance, Spotted Tree Frogs now only occur in a few reaches of rocky mountain streams in just 13 river systems.  These remaining populations are now threatened by Chytridiomycosis (a disease caused by Amphibian Chytrid Fungus).

Zoos Victoria became involved in the Spotted Tree Frog Recovery Program in 1991.  Captive breeding is an increasingly important element of the coordinated Recovery Program.

Zoos Victoria’s key roles in the recovery of the Spotted Tree Frog are to:

  • Maintain an insurance population in captivity 
  • Help with population monitoring programs (including reintroduction trials)
  • Conduct research to evaluate the role of trout and Amphibian Chytrid Fungus in changes in population dynamics and ways of treating Chytrid infection
  • Increase community awareness of the plight of the Spotted Tree Frog and community support for its conservation.

Plans and publications

PDF icon Download a comprehensive overview of what Zoos Victoria is doing to save the Spotted Tree Frog (499 KB)

Gillesie, G. R. and Robertson, P. R. (1998) Spotted Tree Frog 1998-2002 Recovery Plan. Department of Sustainability and Environment, East Melbourne, Victoria. 

Gillespie, G. R. (2000).  Action Statement No 112 - Spotted Tree Frog Litoria spenceri.  Department of Environment and Sustainability, East Melbourne, Victoria.

DSEWPC (2010). Litoria spenceri in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Canberra.

Gillespie, G. R. (2001).  The role of introduced trout in the decline of the Spotted Tree Frog (Litoria spenceri) in south-eastern Australia.  Biological Conservation 100: 187-198.

Gillespie, G. R. (2002).  Impacts of sediment loads, tadpole density, and substratum on the growth and development of tadpoles of the Spotted Tree Frog Litoria spenceri: an in-stream experiment.  Biological Conservation 106: 141-150.

Gillespie, G. R. and Hollis, G. J. (1996). Distribution and Habitat of the Spotted Tree Frog Litoria spenceri Dubois (Anura: Hylidae), and an Assessment of Potential Causes of Population Declines. Wildlife Research 23: 49-75.

Spotted Tree Frog

Wise Schemer for the Extinction Fighters

Found: along streams from the Central Highlands of Victoria to Mt Kosciuszko

He's wise, wily and can hatch the most brilliant schemes ... he's also a super fast hunter.

Meet all priority native threatened species

Zoos Victoria plans to save this endangered animal.

See all of our 21 priority threatened native species.

Love Your Locals tram launch image 1

Victoria's most endangered take to the streets

A City Circle tram has been dressed up to feature Zoos Victoria’s 20 priority native threatened species.

24 October 2012
  • The Spotted Tree Frog lives for over 10 years. That's old for a frog!