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New Zealand Frogs: Leiopelmatidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, New Zealand Frogs And People, Conservation Status, Hamilton's Frog (leiopelma Hamiltoni): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET


Although they share New Zealand with a few other species of frogs, the members of this family are the only frogs that are actually native to New Zealand. Humans introduced, or brought in, the others, which include two species of bell frogs and a brown tree frog. New Zealand frogs live on North, Maud, Great Barrier, and Stephens Islands. Conservationists in 1997 introduced one of the four species to Motuara Island, where it is surviving.

Most New Zealand frogs live in damp, forested areas, where they often hide during the day under rotting logs or loose stones. Some also survive among rocks and shrubs in a misty but almost treeless part of Stephens Island. Of the four species, Hochstetter's frog prefers the wettest environment, often living near streams or other bodies of water.

These small frogs eat insects and other invertebrates (in-VER-teh-britts), which are animals without backbones, that live in their habitat. Many species of frogs capture their prey by flinging out their long tongues and using them to grasp. New Zealand frogs, on the other hand, cannot stick out their tongues. Instead, a New Zealand frog must quickly lunge at a prey animal and grab it with its mouth.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibians