Litoria castanea (Steindachner, 1867:62)

Yellow-spotted tree frog, Cream-spotted treefrog, Yellow-speckled treefrog (as L. flavipunctata), New England bell frog



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Hyla castanea Steindachner, 1867:62 (basionym); Litoria flavipunctata Courtice & Grigg, 1975:159


L. flavipunctata was first synonymised with L. castanea by (H. G. Cogger in Cogger et al., 1983:41).


Conservation Status

Last record: 1973 (specimen collected), 1975 (sighting; northern population); 1980 (southern population)

Rediscovered in 2009

IUCN RedList status: Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) [from 2004, prior to rediscovery]



New South Wales, Australia


Biology & Ecology

"Ecology: woodland, open forest, swamp, amphibious, noctidiurnal, predator; winter dormant, seasonal breeder, free-living tadpole, arthropod-feeder."

(Cogger et al., 1983:41)



Holotype: not found by (Cogger et al., 1983:41)

Type locality: unknown (Cogger et al., 1983:41)


Holotype (flavipunctata): AM R40676

Type locality (flavipunctata): Booralong Creek Road, 12.8 km W of Guyra, N.S.W. in 30°16'S, 151°33'E (Cogger et al., 1983:41)






Original scientific description:

Steindachner, F. 1867. Amphibien. pp. 1–70 in, Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859 unter den Befehlen des Commodore B. von Wüllerstorff-Urbair. Zoologie 1(4). Vienna: State Printer. [1869 on title page] [62, pl. 3 figs 9-13].


Other references:

Barker, J., Grigg, G. and Tyler, M. 1995. A Field Guide to Australian Frogs. Surrey Beatty and Sons Pty Ltd, New South Wales.

Cogger HG (2000) ‘Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia. 6th ed.’ (Reed New Holland: Sydney)

Cogger, Harold G., Cameron, Elizabeth E. and Cogger, Heather M. (1983). Hylidae, pp. 35-51. In: Zoological Catalogue of Australia. I. Amphibia and Reptilia. Canberra: Australian Government Publishing Service. vi + 313 pp.

Courtice, G. (1972). A taxonomic revision of the Litoria aurea complex (Anura: Hylidae). B.Sc. (Hons) Honours Thesis, University of Sydney, Sydney. 48 pp.

Courtice, G. P. and Grigg, G. C. (1975). A taxonomic revision of the Litoria aurea complex (Anura: Hylidae) in southeastern Australia. Australian Zoologist 18: 149-163.

Cutajar, Timothy P., Portway, Christopher D., Gillard, Grace L. and Rowley, Jodi J. L. (2022). Australian Frog Atlas: Species’ Distribution Maps Informed by the FrogID Dataset. Technical Reports of the Australian Museum Online 36: 1-48.

Ehmann H, White A (1997) Frog and Tadpole Study Group of NSW. In ‘Threatened Frogs of New South Wales: Habitats, Status and Conservation’ (Ed. H Ehmann) (Frog and Tadpole Study Group of New South Wales: Sydney, Australia)

Garnett, Stephen T., Hayward-Brown, Brittany K. et al. (2022). Australia's most imperilled vertebrates. Biological Conservation 270: 109561.

Geyle, Hayley M. et al. (2022). Red hot frogs: identifying the Australian frogs most at risk of extinction. Pacific Conservation Biology.

Heatwole H, de Bavay J, Webber P, Webb G (1995) Faunal survey of New England. IV. The frogs. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 38, 229-249.

Jean-Marc Hero, Harry Hines, Frank Lemckert, Peter Robertson 2004. Litoria castanea. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. ( Downloaded on 16 September 2011.

Jean-Marc Hero, Harry Hines, Frank Lemckert, Peter Robertson. 2004. Litoria castanea. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T12145A3325983. Accessed on 06 July 2022.

Humphries, R. B. (1979). Dynamics of a breeding frog community. PhD dissertation, the Australian National University, Canberra.

Mahoney, Michael. (1999). Review of the declines and disappearances within the bell frog species group (Litoria aurea species group) in Australia, pp. 81-93. In: Campbell, Alastair (ed.). Declines and Disappearances of Australian frogs. Canberra: Environment Australia. 234 [236] pp.

Mahony MJ (1996) ‘Research Plan for the Yellow-spotted (Litoria flavipunctata (castanea)) and Peppered (Litoria piperata) Tree-frogs, Final Report.’ Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Endangered Species Program and the NSW NPWS.

Mahony M (1999) Review of the declines and disappearances within the bell frog species group (Litoria aurea species group) in Australia. In ‘Declines and Disappearances of Australian Frogs’ (Ed. A Campbell) pp. 81-93. (Environment Australia: Canberra)

Mahony, M. J., and Knowles, R. (1993) Research plan for the Yellow-spotted bell frog and Peppered tree-frog. Annual Report to Australian Nature Conservation Agency. Unpublished Report.

Mahony MJ, Lane S, Hamer A, Browne R (2000) ‘Survey for Litoria castanea in the Orange area.’ NSW NPWS, Western Directorate.

NSW NPWS (2001) ‘Yellow-spotted Bell Frog (Litoria castanea) and Peppered Tree Frog (Litoria piperata) recovery plan.’ NSW NPWS, Sydney. 

NSW Scientific Committee. (2008). Yellow-spotted Bell Frog Litoria castanea. Review of current information in NSW. July 2008. Unpublished report arising from the Review of the Schedules of the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. NSW Scientific Committee, Hurstville.

Osborne WS, Littlejohn MJ, Thomson SA (1996) Former distribution and apparent disappearance of the Litoria aurea complex from the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. Australian Zoologist 30: 190-198.

Regalado, Pedro Galán. (2015). Los Anfibios y Reptiles Extinguidos: Herpetofauna Desaparecida Desde el Año 1500. Monografías de la Universidade da Coruña 155: 1-509.

Scheffers, Brett R., Yong, Ding Li, Harris, J. Berton C., Giam, Xingli and Sodhi, Navjot S. (2011). The world’s rediscovered species: back from the brink? PLoS ONE 6(7): e22531. [Supporting Information (Table S1)]

Thomson SA, Littlejohn MJ, Robinson WA, Osborne WS. (1996). Taxonomy of the Litoria aurea complex: a re-evaluation of the Southern Tablelands populations of the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. Australian Zoologist 30, 158-169.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee. (2017). Conservation Advice Litoria castanea yellow-spotted tree frog. Australian Government.

Tyler, Michael J. (1997). The Action Plan for Australian Frogs. Canberra: Wildlife Australia.

Vörös, Judit et al. (2023). Molecular systematic analysis demonstrates that the threatened southern bell frog, Litoria raniformis (Anura: Pelodryadidae) of eastern Australia, comprises two sub-species. Zootaxa 5228(1): 1-43.

White, A. W. and Ehmann, H. (1997). Chapter 18: New England Bell Frog, Litoria castanea/flavipunctata. In: Ehmann, H. (ed.), Threatened Frogs of New South Wales: Habitats, Status and Conservation, pp. 164-169. Frog and Tadpole Study Group of New South Wales, Sydney South, Australia.

White, A. W. and Pyke, G. H. (1999). Past distribution of Litoria aurea and Litoria castanea in the Bathurst-Orange Area of New South Wales. Herpetofauna 29: 2-9.


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