lizards and a frog occupying multiple shelter sites within a hollow
By Rob Valentic.
variety of reptile and frog species have been documented sharing the
same cover (Rankin, 1975; Maryan and Robinson, 1987; Orange, 1992;
Valentic 1993). This report details the discovery of a
Tree Monitor Varanus
scalaris, Giant Tree Gecko Pseudothecadactylus australis
and a Green Tree Frog Litoria
caerulea utilising separate hollows within a single
standing Broad-leaved Paperbark tree Melaleuca
The Giant Tree Gecko Pseudothecadactylus australis from
Cape Weymouth, Cape York Peninsula, north-eastern Queensland, Australia.
Cape Weymouth, Cape York Peninsula, north Queensland (12°7’S, 143°26’E).
Gently sloping paperbark woodland with a dense understorey of giant speargrass Heteropogon
triticeus interspersed with scattered, low granite
17th May 1993.
11:40-12:20hrs (Eastern Standard Time).
Conditions: 28°C, heavy (100%) cloud cover with
a gentle onshore breeze.
These observations were made whilst participating in the Cape York
Peninsula Land Use Study under Iron Range Zoologist in charge, Luke
Leung. We located a Pseudothecadactylus
in a standing dead tree (Melaleuca
diameter at breast height 45 cm, total height 5 metres approx.) by
tapping on numerous tree trunks as described by Cameron and Cogger
(1992). We decided to dismantle the tree in order to measure
photograph the gecko. The lizard (a male, SVL: 107mm) could
heard vocalising within a hollow branch 2.1metres above ground
level. The sectioning of this branch facilitated viewing
the main trunk where an adult Varanus
(SVL: 246mm) was discovered about 2 metres above ground
The cavity within the main trunk steadily narrowed and a sub adult Litoria
(S-A: 56mm) was also discovered utilising a tight recess 320mm above
the varanid’s position.
forage widely in search of arthropods and small vertebrates (Wilson and
Knowles, 1988). It is possible that the varanid was disturbed
whilst in the process of investigating the hollow for potential
prey. In this case it is doubtful that the varanid would be
successful due to the restricted diameter of the hollows occupied by P. australis and L. caerulea.
The narrow spaces would effectively exclude the bulk of the
varanid. If all three species were in fact sharing the tree,
may indicate a scarcity of arboreal refugia in the immediate
being nocturnal, may not usually be vulnerable to predation by a
diurnal varanid while active, and could possibly cohabit the tree with
little risk of predation.
Cameron, E.E. and Cogger, H.G. 1992.
The Herpetofauna of the Weipa Region, Cape York Peninsula.
Technical Reports of the Australian Museum. Number 7, 200 pp.
Maryan, B. and Robinson, D. 1987. Field compatibility
observation. Herpetofauna 17(1):11.
Orange, P. 1992.
Miscellaneous herpetological observations. Herpetofauna
Rankin, P.R. 1975.
Exploitation of a woodpile in Northern Queensland by a community of
reptiles and amphibians. Herpetofauna
Valentic, R. 1992.
The Big Desert Wilderness - a field excursion. Monitor - Bulletin of the
Victorian Herpetological Society 5(2):59-64.
Wilson, S.K. and Knowles, D.G. 1992.
Australia’s Reptiles - A photographic reference to the
terrestrial reptiles of Australia. 2nd edition.
Publishing, Pymble, NSW, 447 pp.