Frog find a leg-up for science app

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Dunsborough Primary School sustainability leader Helena Nicholson demonstrates the rare Spotted Thigh Frog
Camera IconDunsborough Primary School sustainability leader Helena Nicholson demonstrates the rare Spotted Thigh Frog Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

Busselton had an unlikely visitor last week after a colourful spotted thigh frog hitched a ride to Busselton from Keynes Beach in Esperance.

The large frog goes by the scientific name Litoria cyclorhyncha and has uniquely unwebbed fingers containing prominent discs.

Citizen scientist Helena Nicholson found the frog in her garden while playing the QuestaGame app.

QuestaGame was developed by CSIRO to inspire children to get outdoors and discover, map and ultimately help protect native species of flora and fauna.

Ms Nicholson, a digital technology teacher and sustainability leader at Dunsborough Primary School, said the app helped students contribute to real research and scientific conversation. “I suspect he may have hitch hiked a lift in my dad’s flour-wheel-drive when he came back from helping at a farm in Esperance during lockdown,” she said.

“This little fella looked really unusual, a bit like a motorbike frog but his thighs are so distinctive, I was worried about him because he doesn't live around here and I knew he wouldn’t survive.

“I’m confident that he is healthy now and I’m really grateful that DBCA are going to take him home.”

Ms Nicholson gave the frog to the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions Parks and Wildlife on Thursday with staff returning it to its natural habitat of Israelite Bay.

The Parks and Wildlife Service said it was uncommon for the spotted thigh frog to survive outside it’s natural habitat.

“The frog would have found a food source and suitable environmental conditions such as a permanent water source,” it said.

QuestaGame users can join a global competition aimed at protecting vulnerable species with more than 600,000 sightings and 1,500,000 verified identifications worldwide.

The game can be downloaded from the Appstore or GooglePlay.

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