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Unique NZ frogs found to be breeding

Posted by Miqe on February 28, 2008

Thirteen rare finger nail-sized frogs have been born for the first time on one of New Zealand’s main islands.

The Maud Island frogs were found in the frog enclosure at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in Wellington and have been taken to Victoria University.

When they have grown they will be released into the wild.

Victoria University student Kerri Lukis, who is studying the sanctuary’s population for her Master’s thesis, said it was an exciting find.

“Maud Island frogs have never been found breeding in their natural habitat before, and certainly not on the mainland. It’s wonderful timing for 2008 — International Year of the Frog and a Leap Year,” Ms Lukis said.

“It’s rare to get a good news story about frogs, every year around 35 species of frog become extinct and two of New Zealand’s remaining native frog species are on the critical list.”

Maud Island frogs hatch from the egg as fully-formed frogs without going through the tadpole stage.

Maud Island frogs are nationally threatened. They evolved very little over the last 70 million years, resulting in distinctive features and behaviours.

They do not croak, live in water or have webbed feet, Ms Lukis said.

In 2006 , 60 frogs were released into the mouse-proof frog enclosure at the wildlife sanctuary in an effort to re-establish the species on the mainland.

Thirty of these frogs were then released into the wild so captive and wild populations could be compared.

From Stuff.co.nz

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