AmphibiaWeb - Leiopelma hochstetteri


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Leiopelma hochstetteri Fitzinger, 1861
Hochstetter's Frog
family: Leiopelmatidae
genus: Leiopelma
Leiopelma hochstetteri
© 2004 David M. Green (1 of 4)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status None
Regional Status None


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A small stocky frog with snout-vent length up to 38 mm for males, 47 mm for females. Mostly brown, occasionally green. Has robust limbs; males have broader and more muscular forelimbs. Hind toes are webbed for about half their length. No external eardrum (Gill and Whitaker 1996). Granular glands are widely dispersed over the sides, legs, and belly, but are sparse or absent from the dorsum (Green 1988).

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: New Zealand

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Northland south of Whangarei; Waitakere, Hunua and Rangitoto Ranges; Whareorino forest, west of Te Kuiti; Great Barrier Island; Coromandel Peninsula; Bay of Plenty; East Cape region. Subfossil bones indicate the species used to be more widespread, in areas such as Waitomo, Hawkes Bay, and northwest Nelson (Gill and Whitaker 1996).

Aquatic; can be found in shaded creek edges in forest, up to about 800 m altitude. Nocturnal; likes to take shelter in wet cavities 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. Does not assume a rigid headbutting stance with raised body and extended legs like L. hamiltoni and L. archeyi; more likely to try to escape in water. Uses double legged "frog-kick" for initial few strokes and then a "dog-paddle" motion (Green 1988).

Reproduction: Amplexus takes place on land, in shallow water, or at the edge of water. Male grips female tightly around the groin immediately anterior to the hind legs. Takes froglets at least 3 to 4 years to reach maturity. In their development, a broad gular fold covers the forelimbs, and the tail fin is well developed (Bell 1978).

Most widely distributed native frog in New Zealand. Named after Dr. Ferdinand von Hochstetter (1829-1884) who was an Austrian geologist and the first to take specimens of this frog to Europe (Gill and Whitaker 1996).


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)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2003 Leiopelma hochstetteri: Hochstetter's Frog <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed May 26, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 26 May 2024.

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