Frog of the Week

Maud Island Frog (Leiopelma pakeka)

photo by D. Garrick

Common Name: Maud Island Frog
Scientific Name: Leiopelma pakeka
Family: Leiopelmatidae
Location: New Zealand
Size: 1.8 inches (4.5 cm)

The Maud Island Frog is from an ancient lineage of frogs. They live only in New Zealand, on Marlborough Sounds, and South Island. These frogs have a long lifespan, averaging 33 years. Scientists aren’t even sure that the Maud Island Frog is a distinct species of frog. When the species was orginally discovered, it was thought to be a subspecies of the Hamilton’s Frog (Leiopelma hamiltoni) until researchers looked at the muscle proteins of the frogs and determined that they were different enough to be two different species. However, new genetic tests showed that there isn’t much difference between the two. Who knows if it will stay as a species.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List categorizes the Maud Island Frog as Vulnerable to Extinction. They have a limit range, only living on the small islands. Even on the islands, most of their habitat was destroyed to make room for farm land.

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