27 Feb 2013

Breeding breakthrough for rare frog

10:15 pm on 27 February 2013

Auckland Zoo has managed to successfully breed a critically-endangered species of frog.

The population of the rare Archey's frog has dropped by 80% in the past 10 years.

The rare Archey's Frog.

The rare Archey's Frog. Photo: AUCKLAND ZOO

In December last year, seven babies hatched at the zoo and all have survived.

Richard Gibson, the zoo's New Zealand fauna curator, told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme it has taken eight years to work out how to get the frogs to breed.

The zoo says the frogs are the most evolutionary distinct amphibian in the world and, unlike other frogs it doesn't croak, has no tadpole stage and swims with its arms rather than its back legs.

It says very little is known about the species, which makes the breeding success internationally significant.

Auckland Zoo says it is the only facility in the world to hold Archey's frogs. They are not currently on display, but will soon be able to be viewed at the night forest habitat within the New Zealand precinct, Te Wao Nui.