An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

Listen here - who’s moaning about the rains!

Story by Lara de la Harpe.

Moaning Frog by William Archer

As you fling open your windows to enjoy the cool relief of the first rains of autumn, you may also hear another Perth resident heralding the start of the wet season. The familiar long slow moan of our local burrowing frog will be heard in gardens, parks and wetlands around the metropolitan area. 

The aptly named moaning frog (Heleioporus eyrei) is a small brown frog with irregular yellow patches which takes advantage of the rains to begin its short breeding season. 

Historically, moaning frogs have lived throughout the Perth Metropolitan area, but researchers are now concerned that urbanisationis forcing them into smaller areas and therefore threatening the genetic diversity of the local population.

“If the general public can help us find out where the moaning frog communities still are, we can investigate the strength of these enclaves and assess whether they are being affected by Perth’s changing landscape and climate,” explains Assistant Professor Nicki Mitchell, School of Animal Biology at The University of Western Australia.  “If you have a moaning frog living in your area, we would love to know about it.”

You can familiarise yourself with the distinctive call of the moaning frog and then listen out for it in the evenings, after the rain has arrived.   

If you are lucky enough to hear or see a resident moaning frog in your suburb, you can record your observation. Your involvement will help researchers to better understand and protect this shy but noisy native frog.