Conservation Week - Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Turoa
Native New Zealand frogs are very rare and only found in the North Island and Maud Island in Marlborough Sounds. New Zealand has 4 native frog species, Hochstetter's, Archey's, Hamilton's and Maud Island frog (all belong to the genus Leiopelma). In pre-human times they were spread throughout Aoteroa. These native amphibians are not like regular frogs. They are pretty much silent (no croaking only a chirrup sound), they lay large yoke eggs that hatch into tadpoles with the emerging tadpole absorbing it's yolk sac and own tail. They don't inhabit ponds but prefer damp and shady paces in the forest or amongst rock and can climb trees. They don't have long tongues to flick out to catch insects but gulp them down by mouth instead. They don't have webbed feet and their eyes are large and round. They can live up to 30 years. They belong to an ancient and primitive family that no longer exists anywhere else in the world. They haven't changed much in 70 million years!
However...we do have frogs here in the South Island and closer to home than you think....even in the Ecosanctuary!
The Ewingii frog (genus Litoria)
(common names - Brown tree frog, Whistling tree frog) is one of the 3 non-native
frogs introduced to New Zealand from Tasmania in 1875. This is a tiny frog and unlike the near silent native New Zealand frogs...they do trill and whistle! (Listen to the audio clip) rather like a high pitch cricket.
The Department of Conservation is interested in tracking where introduced frogs are to be found so as to monitor them (being an introduced species) through their DOC ARDS cards. (Amphibian and Reptile Distribution Scheme. The cards can be downloaded through the DOC website.
For more fascinating Ewingii frog and Native New Zealand frogs visit
www.doc.govt.co.nz. Identifying introduced frog species
Have you seen or heard any frogs at your place?