Archey's frog
Image: James Reardon | ©


Frogs are the focus of New Zealand Journal of Ecology’s latest special issue, highlighting the problems these precious amphibians face, and providing a fitting tribute to a champion of our native frogs, the late Emeritus Professor Phil Bishop.

Date:  31 August 2023

Dr Jen Germano is a Department of Conservation scientist, member of the Frog Recovery Group, and co-author of several research papers in the journal.

“New Zealand’s frogs are something of a hidden treasure. Our frogs are tiny, of course, but also rare. Most New Zealanders will never have the opportunity to see a native frog,” Jen Germano says.

“These frogs have some interesting quirks that make them different from frogs in the rest of the world.

“One of their most unique traits is that our native frogs don’t croak, and they don’t have eardrums on the side of their head like frogs overseas. They are completely silent. So, if you hear a frog out in the wild, it’s one of the introduced Australian frogs.     

“Also, Archey’s and Hamilton’s frogs don’t have tadpoles. The father frog guards the eggs and keeps them moist until they hatch. Then he cares for little froglets until they are ready to move away.

“Sadly, as with so many of New Zealand’s native species, frogs are under extreme pressure from predators, loss of habitat and, increasingly, climate change.

“The journal will add to our knowledge and, I hope, will help DOC, iwi, community groups and others to better protect these taonga,” Jen Germano says.

The journal’s articles cover the following topics and more:

  • the impact of rats and predator control on frogs
  • climate change impacts on frogs
  • frog habitats – some frogs are laying eggs in old tree trunks
  • trialling tiny frog monitors
  • frog translocations – what makes them a success and what doesn’t work.

Emeritus Professor Bishop was a world-renowned amphibian expert and was based in the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago. He significantly raised the profile of New Zealand’s native frogs through numerous research papers and advocacy. He passed away in January 2021.  

The frog issue of the New Zealand Journal of Ecology is freely available online.


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