Hamilton's Frog - Leiopelma hamiltoni

The Hamilton's frog is one of four of New Zealand's primitive frogs belonging to the ancient family Leiopelmatidae and is named after Harold Hamilton who first collected the species.

The Hamilton's frogs are nocturnal, do not croak and these atributes in combination with excellent camouflage makes them very hard to find.

Hamilton's Frogs don't have webbed feet. They do have tail-wagging muscles, yet no tail. The pupils are round, not slit as is common to New Zealand's primitive frogs. It doesn't go through a tadpole stage but develops within a jelly derived from an egg and therefore is not dependant on water for reproduction. It needs to stay damp or it will dry out and die. The male carries his young offspring around on his back.

By 1992 the Hamilton's frog was confined to one 600 m² small habitat of rock. The Hamilton's Frog is found only on two small sites one being Stephen's Island in the Marlborough Sounds. The species remains endangered.

© Image Dr Paddy Ryan

Hamilton's Frog