FrogID, Australia’s first national frog count, launched in November 2017. Based on a free app for your smart phone, FrogID is a national project to help frogs. Simply by recording the calls of frogs using the FrogID app, people across Australia have already submitted over 20,000 recordings, capturing the calls of a remarkable 155 frog species. But we need more- and we need them often!

It’s true that we need frog calls from all over Australia- vast tracts of Australia, sometimes hundreds of kilometers wide, lack official records of any frog species. While we can guess what species occur there based upon the surrounding areas, without actual records, we’re not able to truly take frogs into account in conservation decisions in these areas - such as where it’s most important to create new protected areas, or what impact a development will have.

Bumpy Rocket Frog
Bumpy Rocket Frog (Litoria inermis), Queensland, Australia. Image: Jodi Rowley
© Jodi Rowley

But we don’t just need recordings of frogs from different places, we also need repeat recordings of frogs from the same place. Why? Frogs are very sensitive to change, including changes in weather, habitat quality and pollution levels. For this reason, by recording the presence of our frog species over time, we can understand not only when frog species are breeding, how they respond to weather, and how they are faring in a changing planet, but also track the health of our ecosystems. As different species call during different seasons, recording in the same place over time will help ensure that all species present in the area are recorded!

So, whether it’s from your backyard pond, dam, local wetland or the bushland where you walk your dog every day, we need new recordings nightly, weekly, or monthly. One recording per day at any location is ideal, any more than that is important only if you hear additional frog species calling after already submitting a recording. 

Thank you to everyone in the FrogID family for helping us understand our unique frog species. Please keep recording the calls of frogs wherever you hear them, and often, and help us spread the word. Frogs need our help!

Dr Jodi Rowley
Curator, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Biology, AMRI & UNSW Sydney.