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New Zealand Frogs: Leiopelmatidae

Hamilton's Frog (leiopelma Hamiltoni): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Hamilton's frog is usually light brown with a single dark stripe running along each side of the head and through the eye. It also has a noticeable ridge running from the head down each side of the body. Its feet have no webbing between the toes. The frog grows to 2.0 inches (5.1 centimeters) long from snout to rump. Females are usually a bit larger than males.


Geographic range: One of the rarest frogs in the world, it lives in a tiny area high atop Stephens Island in New Zealand.


Habitat: Although its preferred habitat is likely moist forest, this species now survives in a damp, rocky pile that is covered mostly by grasses and shrubs.

One of the rarest frogs in the world, Hamilton's frog lives in a tiny area high atop Stephens Island in New Zealand. (Illustration by Brian Cressman. Reproduced by permission.)

Diet: Hamilton's frog eats insects and other invertebrates.


Behavior and reproduction: This frog, for the most part, remains out of sight during the day. Like the other New Zealand frogs, it does not call. It can, however, squeak if mishandled. Females lay five to nine eggs at a time on land. Each egg hatches into a tiny frog. The males watch over the eggs and young.


Hamilton's frogs and people: Humans rarely notice this quiet frog.


Conservation status: The IUCN considers Hamilton's frog to be Endangered, which means that it faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild. Protection efforts are under way to protect its small home area and to help it survive into the future. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansNew Zealand Frogs: Leiopelmatidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, New Zealand Frogs And People, Conservation Status, Hamilton's Frog (leiopelma Hamiltoni): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET