January 24th – Green Tree Frog

Danger Lurking

As the return to school marks the return to complete “normality”, I thought I’d post a throw-back to the holidays.

Common on the New South Wales north coast is the Green Tree frog, or White’s Frog (litoria caerulea). These guys hide in tight, moist locations, and each night as the temperature cools they emerge from their cosy hiding spots to survey their surrounds.

Though this year their habitat included a bloke with a flash and a macro lens.

The frogs keep mostly to themselves at height, and announce their descent to earth with a loud ‘plop!’ as they leap from their perch to the cement below.

I had a bit of fun with the image above, though not entirely sure if the frog was going to lash out and inhale it’s dinner in front of me. This year seemed to be more Christmas Beetles than ever before, and these plump amphibians didn’t seem to mind at all.

Christmas Beetles don’t strike me as the most situationally aware creatures (something to do with their head and light fixtures), however the smile on the frogs face is almost like a kitten with a ball of string. He has that “Get in my belly!” look on its face.

And as cruel as it seems, I couldn’t resist a macro shot of the eye. They are awesome to look at, although being nocturnal I’m not sure that he really appreciated it.

So to the Green Tree Frog fact file – there’s plenty more to the Litoria caerulea than meets the eye. As with all frogs, the Green Tree Frog absorbs oxygen through the skin, despite having lungs.

To allow this, the skin must be kept moist, which in itself is an infection risk. However the Green Tree Frog exudes a group of peptides called Caerins, which contains an anti-viral and antibiotic. Most amazingly, the peptides excreted by the Green Tree Frog have shown to destroy HIV, without damaging T-Cells.

The Frog's Eye

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