The giant puppet (Ranoidea caerulea) is a species of tree frog native to Australia and New Guinea, with populations introduced to New Zealand and the United States. It belongs to the genus Ranoidea. Physically, it resembles species of the genus Litoria, especially Litoria splendida and Litoria infrafrenata.
The giant puppet is thicker than most Australian frogs, and reaches a length of ten centimeters. The average longevity of the frog in captivity, about sixteen years, is long compared to that of most frogs. Giant puppies are docile and well adapted to life near human homes. They are often found in windows or indoors, eating light-attracted insects.
Due to its physical and behavioral characteristics, the giant puppet has become one of the most easily recognizable frogs in its region, and is an exotic pet around the world. Frog skin secretions have antibacterial and antiviral properties that could be useful in pharmaceutical preparations.
The giant puppet shared the genus Litoria with dozens of species of frogs endemic to Australasia. The species was originally described by John White in 1790, and one of the animal's common names in English, White's Tree Frog, is in his honor. The giant frog was the first Australian frog to be classified scientifically. The species was originally called the "blue frog" (Rana caerulea) despite its green color. The original copies that White sent to England were damaged by the preservative and looked blue. The color of the frog is caused by blue and green pigments covered by a yellow layer; the preservative destroyed the yellow layer and left the frogs with a blue appearance. The specific epithet, caerulea, which in Latin means "blue", has been preserved. The frog is also colloquially known as the "green tree frog". However, this name is often assigned to the large green tree frog, such as the green pupa (Hyla cinerea), called the "green tree frog" in the southeastern United States.
The giant puppet can grow up to ten inches long. Its color depends on the temperature and color of its environment, and ranges from brown to green; the ventral surface is white. The frog sometimes has small irregular white spots on its back, up to half a centimeter in diameter, which increase in number with age. It has large discs at the tip of the fingers, about half an inch in diameter in adults. These discs help hold the frogs when they are climbing and allow them to climb the grass vertically. The eyes are golden and have irises, a typical feature of the genus Litoria. The toes of the forelegs are webbed on one-third of their surface, and those of the hind legs on three-quarters of the surface. The tympanic membrane, a tympanic-like skin membrane, is visible.
The giant puppet is sometimes confused with Litoria splendida, a frog that only lives in northwestern Australia and can be distinguished by the presence of large paratoid and rostral glands on its head. Litoria infrafrenata can also be confused with the giant puppet. The main difference is a distinct white stripe extending to the edge of the lower jaw of L. infrafrenata, which does not appear in the giant puppet.
The appearance of the tadpole changes throughout its development. Its length ranges from 8.1 millimeters (newborns) to 44 millimeters. Initially they have brown spots, which increase the pigmentation to green or brown during development. At first the bottom is dark and then lightens, eventually turning white in adults. The eggs are brown, they are in an ice cream