Desert Tree Frog (Litoria rubella) has a number of common name and varies in colour from grey, red-brown to fawn, often with dark flecks on its back. A dark band runs along the side of the head and body. Their colour is sometimes so well blended with its background, as can be seen with those found living in the rocky canyons of the arid centre, that you can often walk straight pass them, without noticing.

Found in a wide range of habitats across the top half of Australia, from the coast, through tropical and to the arid central regions, the frog is usually found sheltered under stones and bark, around creeks and waterholes. They can be found in sheds and other buildings, especially in moist areas, such as dripping pipe, swimming pools, and outdoor toilet areas.

Desert Tree Frog (Litoria rubella)
Desert Tree Frog (Litoria rubella) at Simpson Gap, NT

Common name
Desert Tree Frog, Little Red Tree Frog.

25-45 mm

A widely dispersed frog that can be found living in a range of habitats from the coastal regions, tropical regions, through to the arid regions in Central Australia. They have been found in the northern parts of Western Australia, Northern Territory, the north-east corner of South Australia, Queensland and the northern parts of New South Wales.

Because of the wide distribution and habitat, the Desert Tree Frog can be found, breeding annually, during the tropical wet season or summer, or if they are in the arid desert regions, they will breed whenever rain occurs. Males will call from the ground within a few metres of the water. They lay anywhere between 40 to 300 eggs, deposited as a film floating on the surface.

Desert Tree Frog (Litoria rubella) - (with remnant of tail), Simpsons Gap, NT
Desert Tree Frog (Litoria rubella) – (with remnant of tail), Simpsons Gap, NT

The tadpoles are of medium size and translucent with dark brown patches. Some environmental situations, such as the tadpoles living in a small amount of water, which would naturally heat to higher temperatures, would trigger the tadpoles to develop at a faster rate, developing into adults frogs within 14 days.

Desert Tree Frog (Litoria rubella)
Desert Tree Frog (Litoria rubella)

The frog has a harsh loud sound, with a distinctly pulsed note, similar to the screech of a seagull.

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Amphibia
  • Order: Anura
  • Family: Pelodryadidae
  • Genus: Litoria
  • Species: Litoria rubella
Desert Tree Frog (Litoria rubella)
Desert Tree Frog (Litoria rubella), Simpsons Gap, NT

FrogsAustralian Green Tree Frog Centralian Tree Frog Desert Tree Frog Desert Trilling Frog Great Barred Frog Main’s Frog Motorbike Frog Peron’s Tree Frog Spencer’s Burrowing Frog