First national frog count uses FrogID mobile phone app

MYSTERY FROG: A Common Eastern Froglet (Crinia signifera), which was the species recorded calling at Mystery Bay. Photo credit Australian Museum
MYSTERY FROG: A Common Eastern Froglet (Crinia signifera), which was the species recorded calling at Mystery Bay. Photo credit Australian Museum

Australia’s first national frog count prompted me to go out into the neighbourhood at Mystery Bay last week armed with my mobile phone to record some frog calls. Narooma area residents can be a part of the national frog count using their mobile phones and the new FrogID app to help record frog calls. 

I soon found a knot of frogs, yes that is the collective noun for frogs, calling from a ditch on the side of Lamont Young Drive. Deep in song after the recent flush of rain, the frogs didn’t mind me recording as the birds sang in the background.

Because the new FrogID app was not yet launched, I was able to send my recording to Dr Jodi Rowley from the Australian Museum who is helping coordinate the frog count. She is curator of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Biology at the Australian Museum and UNSW Australia.

“That is a great recording of a bunch of Common Eastern Froglets (Crinia signifera)!” she wrote back. An example of the froglet is pictured to the left. Well thanks Dr Jodi and it is exciting to go out and record frog calls and then get the species identified so I hope many locals get out there recording – the frogs certainly need all the help we can give them!

FrogID - a new app developed by the Australian Museum in partnership with IBM – was launched on November 10.  We will be forming our Narooma group on the app and encourage other locals to make recordings.

The free app is at the heart of Australia’s first national frog count, so everyone can join in to help save one of the most threatened groups of animals on Earth. The FrogID app identifies frog species by the special sounds they make – from croaks and chirps, to whistles, ribbits, peeps, barks and grunts. The app has been designed for Australians to record frog calls in their backyard and at nearby parks and wetlands. 

Recording and uploading these unique calls via the app will help identify different frog species and map where they are most at risk from habitat loss, disease, climate change and urbanisation.  Australia has 240 different species of frogs, many of which are under threat. Hundreds of frog species have already disappeared around the world and many more are on the edge of extinction. Declining frog populations have serious impacts on the health of Australia’s waterways and ecosystems. Frogs are also early indicators of the effects of climate change on our environment. – Stan Gorton