Frog of the Week

Hochstetter’s Frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri)

Hochstetters_Frog_on_Moss
Photo by the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust


Common Name: Hochstetter’s Frog
Scientific Name: Leiopelma hochstetteri
Family: Leiopelmatidae
Location: New Zealand
Size: 1.5 inches (38 mm) for males, 1.8 inches (47 mm) for females

The Hochstetter’s Frog lives along the streams of the forests of the northern half of the North Island of New Zealand. It was named after the Austrian geologist¬†Ferdinand von Hochstetter, who brought the first specimens to Europe. The frog is an ancient frog that still has tail muscle but no eardrum or vocal cords. Interestingly, they can live 30 to 40 years.

Mating season lasts from September to May. Females lay between 10 – 13 eggs under rocks or vegetation in seepages or small pools. No parental care is provided in the species.

Hochstetter's Frog
photo by Shaun Lee

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the frog as Least Concern with Extinction. The frog was previously considered Vulnerable to Extinction but their population size and reduction of their population size do not meet the metrics. However, there are still many threats to the Hochstetter’s Frog.

Invasive species introduced to the island have been predating on the frogs and damaging their environment. Pacific rats (Rattus exulans) and Stoat (Mustela erminea) introduced to the island have been eating the frogs. Goats and pigs that were introduced have been eating all the vegetation that the frog likes to hide in.

The forests habitat that the frog’s like is threatened by logging operations. Besides removing of the trees, logging also pollutes the streams that the frogs mate in.