T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Frog (Maud Island frog NZ)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Leiopelmatidae
Genus: Leiopelma
Species: L. pakeka
Binomial name: Leiopelma pakeka
Common name: Maud Island frog

Leiopelma pakeka is a small New Zealand native, terrestrial, nocturnal frog found only on Maud Island and Motuara Island in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand. They were introduced to Motuara Island which lies 33 km SE in Queen Charlotte Sound in 1997. Maud Island supports a healthy population of around 19,000.

Leiopelma pakeka was previously considered to be a sub-population of Hamilton’s frog (Leiopelma hamiltoni, but were after using molecular techniques they wre subsequently described as a new species in 1998.

Leiopelma pakeka prefers rocky areas under a full canopy of native broadleaf trees. It can be found in coastal forest, mostly in deep boulder banks on lower slopes. They do not move much and have been observed staying within a 5 m radius for years. They are very long lived with an average life expectancy of 33 years.

They are a small terrestrial frog, growing to 5 cm in length, and are cryptically coloured with and overall colouration of browns (ranging from light tan to almost black)and with black patterning over their backs and faces. They have unwebbed toes and have a distinctive extended ridge behind its eye.
Like other New Zealand native frog species it does not exhibit a breeding call. This is because they are a primitive frog species that do not possess vocal chords or eardrums. However, they are known to squeak or chirp when annoyed, distressed, or during sexual activity.

Leiopelma pakeka is a terrestrial breeder with mating takes place in shallow, moist depressions beneath logs. After the eggs are laid the male guards them. Leiopelma pakeka young do not go through a tadpole stage, instead they develop totally within a gelatinous capsule in the egg, hatching out as tailed froglets which crawl onto the father’s back where they are kept moist. They remain on his back for several weeks whilst they complete metamorphosis. They take around three years to reach maturity.
They are nocturnal and catch their prey by grabbing it with their mouth as they do not flick their tongues out like many other frogs.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has classified the Archeys frog as an “Vulnerable” species.



A map showing the two islands that Leiopelma pakeka inhabits in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and Information:  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/   

Thanks to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017  http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T56298A66690211.en.