Hochstetter's Frog Fact File

Leiopelma hochstetteri

Credit: Reallyoriginalusername, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons








Wild 30 years

Captive 30 years




Conservation Status


Least Concern

New Zealand's Quiet Frog!

The Hochstetter's frog lacks a vocal sac and as such is restricted to a quiet squeak as its only vocalization.

They survive on a diet of small insects which they hunt for in their streamside habitats.

During their larval stage these amphibians will not consume any food. They emerge from their eggs with back legs which are already developed.

They are threatened by a range of threats including habitat degradation and predation by introduced species. Some subpopulations are incredibly small having dropped as low as 250.

Read on to learn more about these amazing amphibians.


What does Hochstetter's Frog look like?

The hochstetter's frog is covered by green or brown skin which may feature a number of warts. Across the body are some dark brown pathes and warts.

There is partial webbing between the toes.

These animals lack a vocal sac and have no external ear opening.

The pupil of the hochstetter's frog is circular in shape. This can help to distinguish them from introduced species which all have a slit-shaped pupil.

Females are larger than males. An average female will measure 50mm (2.0in)long compared to the 38mm (1.5in) long male.


How does Hochstetter's Frog survive in its habitat?

Their coloration matches that of the hochstetter's frogs environment. This helps to camouflage them and provide some protection against predation.

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What does Hochstetter's Frog eat?

Hochstetter's frog is a carnivore. They will feed on a range of small invertebrates.

Learn more about Hochstetter's Frog in this video from

Conservation Volunteers NZ on YouTube


Where do you find Hochstetter's Frog?

New Zealand is the native home of the Hochstetter's frog. This species occurs as a range of small populations across the North Island. They also occur offshore on Great Barrier Island.

In New Zealand there are only four species of native frog. A further three have been introduced.


Where can Hochstetter's Frog survive?

Hochstetter's frog can be found in areas of forest and wetland habitat. They are a semi-aquatic species which will be found in streams during their larval stage.

They have shown the ability to survive for short periods of time in modified habitats such as pine plantations for forestry.

These animals take shelter under rocks or boulders.

Hochstetter's Frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri)

Credit: Public Domain


How does Hochstetter's Frog produce its young?

They will deposit their eggs in to a cluster laid in a damp, shady area. Hatchlings remain in the water-filled capsule in which they were laid. Each clutch includes around 20 eggs.

Hatchlings will not feed during their larval or tadpole stage but are active during this time. They will wait till they are adults to feed. At hatching the young have well developed back legs.

It may take them 3-4 years to complete their full metamorphosis.

Sexual maturity is achieved by a year old.

Females tend to produce one clutch every two years.


What does Hochstetter's Frog do during its day?

This species is unable to croak as they lack a vocal sac. Their only vocalization is a quiet squeak which is emitted on rare occasions.

These frogs are primarily active by night. They will shelter in protected areas during the day.

Hochstetter's Frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri)

Credit: David M. Green, CC BY-SA 2.5 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5>, via Wikimedia Commons

Predators and Threats

What stops Hochstetter's Frog from surviving and thriving?

They are consumed by introduced predators such as rats, hedgehogs, possums and stoats.

Numbers of the Hochstetter's frog are declining across their range. While the total population is estimated to include 100,000 individuals some small subpopulations have dropped to as few as 250 individuals.

A number of threats to this species are recognized. A major factor in their decline has been the loss and modification of their habitat. Mining is proposed for one stronghold of this species and may impact them.

Along with predation introduced species such as deer will cause habitat degradation.

Some populations persist in man-made habitats such as pine plantations. These populations are at risk of being wiped out when these forests are logged for plantation timbers.

This species is found in a number of protected areas.

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Quick facts

This species is considered to be one of the most primitive frog species. A range of their characteristics are shared with frogs which are an ancestor of the amphibian.

Native frogs from New Zealand are thought to have changed little over the last 70 million years.

Hochstetter's Frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri)

Credit: Reallyoriginalusername, CC BY 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Jackson, T. and Chinery, M., 2012. The illustrated encyclopedia of animals of the world. London: Southwater.

IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Leiopelma hochstetteriThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T11452A66654724. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T11452A66654724.en. Accessed on 07 January 2022.

Conservation Volunteers New Zealand. 2022. Hochstetter's Frog / pepeketua - Conservation Volunteers New Zealand. [online] Available at: <https://conservationvolunteers.co.nz/what-we-do/threatened-species/hochstetters-frog/> [Accessed 7 January 2022].

AmphibiaWeb 2003 Leiopelma hochstetteri: Hochstetter's Frog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/2066> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Jan 6, 2022.

Reptiles.org.nz. 2022. Leiopelma hochstetteri | NZHS. [online] Available at: <https://www.reptiles.org.nz/herpetofauna/native/leiopelma-hochstetteri> [Accessed 7 January 2022].

Hamilton Zoo. 2022. Hochstetter's Frog. [online] Available at: <https://hamiltonzoo.co.nz/our-animals/amphibians/hochstetters-frog/> [Accessed 7 January 2022].

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