Common Name: Hamilton’s Frog
Scientific Name: Leiopelma hamiltoni
Location: New Zealand
The Hamilton’s Frog is from an ancient lineage of frogs. They still retain some of the traits that the first frogs are thought to have had such as 9 presacral vertebrae, tail-wagging muscles, and the inability to make sound or croak.
The female frog lays between 11 to 15 eggs. They are a direct developing species, skipping a free living tadpole stage and just hatching directly into froglets. The males stay with the eggs until they hatch in 7 to 9 weeks. Then, the froglets take 3 to 4 years to reach sexual maturity.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assess the Hamilton’s Frog as Vulnerable to Extinction. The frog has an incredible small range. They live only on Stephens Island, Maud Island, and Nukuwaiata Island in New Zealand. Deforestation and the introduction of rats and mustelids to New Zealand are thought to have drove the frogs to living only on these two islands.
Despite the small range, the frogs on the island are doing alright. Conservationists are working on expanding the range of the frogs by re-introducing the frog to their old range. In addition, most of the current range of the Hamilton’s Frog is a conservation area.