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New Zealand primitive frogs
Temporal range: 200–0 Ma Early Jurassic – Recent
Hochstetter's Frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri)
Scientific classification

Mivart, 1869

Fitzinger, 1861

See text.

Distribution of Leiopelmatidae (in black)

Leiopelmatidae, or New Zealand and North American primitive frogs, is a family belonging to the suborder Archaeobatrachia. There are only four Leiopelma and two Ascaphus species alive now.[1] Leiopelma are only found in New Zealand.[2] Ascaphus are only found in North America.[3]

Overview[change | change source]

Leiopelmatidae have an extra vertebrae. They have the remains of the tail muscles.

When Leiopelmatid jump, they land in a "belly flop". After landing, Ascaphus skids to a halt before recovering.

They are very small frogs, only 5 centimetres (2.0 in) in length. Most species lay their eggs in moist ground, typically under rocks or plants. After hatching the tadpoles nest in the male's back. They do not need standing or flowing water. Life span may be long at more than 30 years.[4]

Species[change | change source]


Extinct species[change | change source]

Three extinct species are known by subfossil remains, also from New Zealand. They became extinct during the past 1,000 years.

Much older fossils, dating back to the Jurassic, have been found in Argentina, such as Notobatrachus.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Leiopelma". tolweb.org. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2012-08-25.
  2. "DOC: Photo-stage and Archey's Frog". Retrieved 2005-12-05.
  3. "Ascaphus". tolweb.org.
  4. Bell, Ben D.; Pledger, Shirley; Dewhurst, Paulette L. (2004). "The fate of a population of the endemic frog Leiopelma pakeka (Anura: Leiopelmatidae) translocated to restored habitat on[Maud Island, New Zealand". New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 31 (2): 123–131. doi:10.1080/03014223.2004.9518366. S2CID 83872421.
  5. "Holotype of Leiopelma markhami". Collections Online. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 17 July 2010.
  6. "Holotype of Leiopelma waitomoensis". Collections Online. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 17 July 2010.

Other websites[change | change source]