Assessment of the status of threatened herpetofauna following fire in sub alpine habitat at Lake Mountain and Mount Bullfight, near Marysville, north-east Victoria



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3.2 Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve

3.2.1 Frog surveys at Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve


Both the Alpine Tree Frog and Common Froglet were recorded at the upper and lower bogs at Mount Bullfight NCR (Table 2). The Victorian Smooth Froglet Geocrinia victoriana and an unidentified frog, most likely a Plains Brown Tree Frog Litoria paraewingi, were detected at the upper bog. At the lower bog Common Froglets (over 20 individuals) were heard throughout the day, with occasional Alpine Tree Frogs calling. In the evenings, large choruses of Alpine Tree Frogs were calling, with occasional Common Froglets heard. On both nights, more than 20 Alpine Tree Frogs were calling at the main lower bog. Adult frogs were calling amongst sphagnum regrowth and in dead branches of Candle Heath Richea continentis (Figure 14). Juvenile Alpine Tree Frogs were observed moving throughout the bog during the day (Figure 15). Tadpoles collected from the lower bog at Mount Bullfight NCR in November 2009 were subsequently identified as Alpine Tree Frogs by Katie Smith (Museum Victoria) using molecular methods (Smith et al. 2011).

Site B5, a drain on the roadside leading to the main lower bog, had recently been excavated. No Alpine Tree Frogs or their tadpoles were detected at this site. Common Froglet tadpoles were recorded at this site.

Surveys of the upper bog at Mount Bullfight NCR were conducted during the day so it was not possible to rely on calling adults only to determine presence at a site, and tadpoles were also used for identifying species’ presence. A juvenile Alpine Tree Frog was captured at site UB5 in the upper bog system, confirming the subspecies’ presence in this area (Figure 16). An unidentified Litoria ewingii-complex frog was also captured at Site UB5 (Figure 17). Litoria ewingii-complex tadpoles were detected at two sites, and adults were heard calling at three sites (Table 2). Species/subspecies within the Litoria ewingii-complex of frogs are similar both in advertisement call structure and morphology. As field workers were uncertain about the precise identification of some Litoria ewingii-complex frogs recorded at the upper bog, all tadpoles and calling males were listed as Litoria ewingii-complex frogs, although it is possible, and perhaps likely, that some or all of these tadpoles may be Alpine Tree Frog larva

Tadpoles of the Common Froglet were detected at all five sites, and a large chorus of adults was heard at Site UB1.

Figure 14. Adult Alpine Tree Frog in the lower bog at Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve.

Figure 15. Juvenile Alpine Tree Frogs observed moving throughout the lower bog at Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve during the day.

Figure 16. Juvenile Alpine Tree Frog site UB5 at the upper bog at Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve.

Figure 17. Alpine Tree Frog, site UB5 at the upper bog at Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve.



Table 2. Results of frog surveys conducted at Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve on 18, 19 and 24 November 2010.

Location

Common Froglet

Alpine Tree Frog

Unknown Litoria ewingii-complex frog

Victorian Smooth Froglet

 

Tadpole

Metamorph

Adult

Tadpole

Metamorph

Adult

Tadpole

Adult

Adult

Lower bog sites




























Site B2 - main bog























Site B4 - deer wallow


























Site B5 - drainage line



























Upper bog sites




























Site UB1
























Site UB2

























Site UB3

























Site UB4



























Site UB5


























3.2.2 Lizard surveys at Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve


Forty skinks were captured at Mount Bullfight on the upper and lower bogs. All but five of these skinks were found under tiles. Whilst Alpine Bog Skinks were not confirmed at Mount Bullfight NCR, this species’ occurrence at this site remains plausible (see below). The Southern Grass Skink was the most commonly recorded species, with 21 individuals captured (52% of all recorded lizards) (Figure 18). Eighteen Southern Water Skinks were also captured. One skink could not be confidently identified to species level, as it had pattern characteristics that were intermediate between Alpine Bog Skink and Southern Grass Skink. This individual was collected and will be analysed using molecular methods by Maggie Haines (Museum Victoria). No Mountain Skinks were recorded at Mount Bullfight NCR.

Figure 18. Southern Grass Skinks captured at both the lower and upper bogs at Mount Bullfight Nature Conservation Reserve (Maggie Haines and Ryan Chick).



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