Unlike spiders, I love frogs and cant wait for Summer to arrive so I can go scouting out some frog ponds.
New Zealand has four frog species that are endemic – found only in New Zealand.
Hochstetter’s, Archey’s, Hamilton’s, and Maud Island frog. There were three other endemic species, but they have become extinct since humans arrived.
Frogs are known as pekeketua or pepeketua in Māori.
New Zealand endemic frogs are among the world’s most ancient. Their ancestors were carried by continental drift from the supercontinent of Gondwana millions of years ago. In a family of their own (Leiopelmatidae), they differ from most other frogs in many respects:
- They have no eardrums.
- They have no vocal sac and do not call or croak, although they make quiet squeaks when disturbed.
- They catch insects with their mouth, not with a long tongue.
- They lay small numbers of large yolky eggs in moist places, but not in water.
- Tadpoles grow inside the egg and hatch as tailed froglets – there is no free-swimming tadpole stage.
New Zealand also has three introduced frog species (from Australia) that belong to the hylid tree frog genus Litoria – Whistling or brown tree frog & Green and golden bell frog
Unlike the native frogs they have a visible external eardrum (tympanum), and a horizontal, not rounded, pupil. Only the whistling frog is similar enough in size or colour to be mistaken for a native frog. They all have loud calls, and an aquatic tadpole stage.
We mostly see the ‘Golden Bell Frog’ (as in above image) in built up urban pond areas and this will be mainly what i manage to get photos of when out on my frog hunt this Summer 🙂
reference information c/- Te Ara – the encyclopedia of NZ