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Leiopelma pakeka Maud Island frog on leaf

The Maud Island frogLeiopelma pakeka, is a primitive frog native to New Zealand, one of only four extant species belonging to the taxonomic family Leiopelmatidae.

Although Leiopelma pakeka differs in some aspects of morphology from Leiopelma hamiltoni, with which it was previously grouped, recent genetic studies suggest the differences are largely superficial. This calls into question its designation as a separate species.[1]

Like other Leiopelma species, these frogs do not produce advertisement vocalisations to attract mates. Instead, they communicate through chemical signals.[2]

In early 2006, 21 Maud Island frogs were released into the introduced predator proof Karori Wildlife Sanctuary with more to follow later in the year to make a total of 60. Thirty frogs were released outside the enclosure so that a comparative study could be done. In February 2008, 13 froglets were discovered clinging to adult males, inside the enclosure.[3]

It is classed as Nationally Endangered in the New Zealand Threat Classification System.[4]

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