I found George hiding in some buckets in the back yard, doesn’t he look cheeky?
George is a Ewing’s Tree Frog (Litoria ewingii), also known as the Brown Tree Frog or the Whistling Tree Frog. He is often found in the backyards of Southeast Australia and Tasmania. You will know he is around by his high pitched ‘weep-eep-eep’ call.
The life of Litoria ewingii, known as George to us, starts in an egg. He is one of up to 700 eggs laid in still water, usually attached to submerged plants. As a tadpole he will grow to be about 50mm (that’s 5cm), but will only grow to about 45mm long when he is a frog. Does this mean George is shorter when he is an adult then when he is a baby? George can be found from Port Lincoln, South Australia, through southern Victoria and up into southern New South Wales and in Tasmania. He can be pale brown, dusky grey or light green in colour. Interestingly, the green colour is only found in south-east South Australia and south-west Victoria.
George looks very similar to Litoria verreauxii, known as Verreaux’s Tree Frog or the Whistling Tree Frog. You can tell them apart by their calls and Litoria verreauxii has a more stockier body shape.
George is a good example of why scientists use scientific names (those tricky latin names) when talking about plants and animals, instead of their easier common names. Have a look at the names of our two frogs.
Images taken from: Field Guide to the Frogs of Australia
Scientific Name Litoria ewingii
Common Names Ewing's Tree Frog Brown Tree Frog Whistling Tree Frog
Scientific name Litoria verreauxii
Common Names Verreaux's Tree Frog Whistling Tree Frog
Notice something? Both frogs have the same common name, Whistling Tree Frog. Imagine you’re a scientist who has made a great discovery about the Whistling Tree Frog. You are so excited you tell the world about it. The problem is how will people know if your talking about Frog A or Frog B? To stop the confusion scientists use the scientific name.
The scientific name is made up from the Genuses (Litoria) and the Species (ewingii) part of it's classification. No other animal or plant will have the same scientific name.
Classification of Litoria ewingii
KINGDOM Animalia PHYLUM Chordata CLASS Amphibia ORDER Anura FAMILY Hylidae GENUS Litoria SPECIES ewingii