Observations of responses to a prescribed burn in the frog Litoria verreauxii (Dumeril, 1853).
The impacts of wild and prescribed fire on amphibians are poorly understood worldwide. Only a handful of studies have directly assessed the impacts of fire on Australian amphibians. Despite this lack of data, fire is frequently reported to have a detrimental impact on amphibian populations. Here we present behavioural observations of five individuals of Litoria verreauxii during a prescribed burn in Timbillica State Forest in south-eastern NSW, Australia. Within 15 minutes of ignition, an adult Litoria verreauxii was seen hopping from the unburnt side of the road towards the fire. A survey of a 500 metre stretch of the road (forming the fire boundary) located two other individuals exhibiting the same behaviour. Two other Litoria verreauxii were located escaping from the fire towards the unburnt area at the end of this transect. Reacting to early signs of fire, such as smoke, may allow animals to seek shelter sites that protect them from the heat of the fire. Suitable shelter may be below ground, in burrows, in tree hollows (except in the case of canopy fires) or in wet vegetation, such as riparian zones which usually dont burn in prescribed fires.