Hochstetter’s Frog

Hochstetter’s Frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri), is a species of primitive frog found in New Zealand. It is one of only four species belonging to the ancient family Leiopelmatidae. It is found only in the northern half of the North Island of New Zealand, including Great Barrier Island. Although it is the largest of the four species it grows to only about 1.75 inches long, and is found in isolated pockets, in damp areas along the edges of streams.

It has partially webbed feet, and atavistic tail-wagging muscles although it does not have a tail. It does not go through a tadpole stage, but instead develops totally within a gelatinous capsule derived from an egg, and therefore does not need standing or running water. However, it is very dependent on a damp environment, and quickly dries out and dies if placed in a dry place.

Hochstetter’s Frogs are generally dark brown and have more warts than the other endemic New Zealand frogs. They are hard to locate as they are well camouflaged, are nocturnal, and do not croak. It is named after the Austrian geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter.