AmphibiaWeb - Leiopelma archeyi


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Leiopelma archeyi Turbott, 1942
Archey's Frog
family: Leiopelmatidae
genus: Leiopelma
Leiopelma archeyi
© 2004 David M. Green (1 of 6)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Critically Endangered (CR)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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A small frog with snout-vent length up to 31 mm for males, 37 mm for females. Varies in color from mostly green to mixtures of green and brown to mostly brown. No or little webbing in the hind toes. No external eardrum (Gill and Whitaker 1996). Has defensive granular glands in skin, which are concentrated into discrete dorsal patches arranged down the back and sides in about six longitudinal rows. The middle row is the most prominent. The glands are also on the dorsal surface of legs and feet, and to a lesser extent, the arms (Green 1988).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: New Zealand

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Whareorino Forest, west of Te Kuiti; Moehau and Colville Ranges on the Coromandel Peninsula south to ranges near Paeroa (Gill and Whitaker 1996).

Terrestrial; can be found in moist forests, grassy clearings, ridges, and sub-alpine scrub around 200-1000 m altitude. Nocturnal; likes to take shelter under stone and logs by day (Gill and Whitaker 1996).

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
Call: No loud breeding call (Gill and Whitaker 1996). Squeak or chirp when annoyed, distressed, or during sexual activity. Has no true voice-box; dominant frequencies and overtones of call notes depend on resonance frequencies in head and body, not vibration frequency of vocal chords (Green 1988).

Defense: Can remain motionless for long periods of time. Assumes stiff-legged stance, rearing up and extending the legs (Green 1988).

Reproduction: Amplexus takes place in shallow depressions beneath logs, where it’s cool and moist. Egg clusters are later laid in strings. Diameters of egg capsules range from 8 to 11 mm. Eggs are yolky, unpigmented, and enclosed in clear capsules comprised of an outer, tougher, and initially somewhat adhesive coat, a middle gelatinous layer, and an inner vitelline membrane. Sometimes frogs, particularly males, occupy the oviposition sites for weeks or longer prior to the laying of eggs. Takes froglets at least 3 to 4 years to reach maturity. In their development, they have narrow tail fins, and only the base of the forelimbs is covered by the gular fold (Bell 1978).

Trends and Threats
On March 26, 2018, we featured conservation efforts in News of the Week:

Archey’s frog (Leiopelma archeyi) is considered one of the most endangered and evolutionarily distinct frogs in the world. This small frog occurs in the moist, subalpine scrub of New Zealand’s North Island in the Coromandel Peninsula and the Whareorino Forest, and is known for its direct developing young (having no tadpole stage). In March 2018, New Zealand’s Department of Conservation will proactively combat one of the threats to the frogs by setting out over a thousand self-resetting rat traps in Whareorino Forest. The deployment of automatically resetting rat traps apparently has the benefit of reducing the need for human intervention which allows long unsupervised implementation as well as reducing the exposure of the tiny frogs to human-transmitted diseases in these remote areas. The NZ Department of Conservation has shown that reducing introduced predators such as rats has allowed frog populations to stabilize and do well in translocated areas like Pureora, south of the Coromandel Peninsula (Written by Michelle Koo).

Named after Sir Gilbert Archey (1890-1974) who was the former Director of the Auckland Institute and Museum (Gill and Whitaker 1996).

Featured in Amazing Amphibians on 3 June 2013


Bell, B.D. (1978). ''Observations on the ecology and reproduction of the New Zealand native frogs.'' Herpetologica, 34, 340-354.

Gill, B., and Whitaker, T. (1996). New Zealand Frogs and Reptiles. David Bateman Limited, New Zealand.

Green, D. M. (1988). ''Antipredator behavior and skin glands in the New Zealand native frogs, genus Leiopelma.'' New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 15, 39-46.

Originally submitted by: Chih Wang (first posted 2003-04-22)
Edited by: Updated by Ann T. Chang, Michelle Koo (2018-11-14)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2018 Leiopelma archeyi: Archey's Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jul 13, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 13 Jul 2024.

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