Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Big leap forward in breeding of rare frog

27 February 2013

Big leap forward in breeding of rare frog

Archey's adult

For the first time, New Zealand’s critically endangered Archey’s frog - the world’s most evolutionarily distinct amphibian - has been successfully bred from a long-term captive population at Auckland Zoo.

Seven Archey’s frog babies that hatched at the Zoo in early December from fertile eggs laid in October, are continuing to thrive. Over 50 million years old and described as “living fossils”, Archey’s frogs, like New Zealand’s other three endemic frog species, don’t have a tadpole stage like other frogs. Instead, the Archey’s ‘tadpole’ grows rudimentary limbs inside the egg, and then hatches out as an almost fully formed frog. The seven baby frogs, each just a half a centimetre long, have absorbed their yolk sacs and progressed to a diet of tiny invertebrates.

While Archey’s frogs have been bred twice before elsewhere in captivity, the babies – from adult frogs that had not long been collected from the wild - did not survive.

“It’s a massive step forward to finally breed these enigmatic and extremely sensitive little frogs after almost eight years,” says Auckland Zoo NZ Fauna curator, Richard Gibson.

Archeys frogs with fresh laid eggs

“While a slow process, perfecting husbandry and furthering our understanding of Archey’s reproductive biology is all part of developing a skill set that provides the best possible chance of conserving this frog in the wild – where it’s battling the combined threats of habitat disturbance, introduced predators, disease and climate change,” says Mr Gibson.

International experts agree the breeding of Archey’s frogs is a huge achievement.

Kevin Zippel, programme director of the Amphibian Ark (AArk) – a world body focussed on the global survival of amphibians using captive breeding for species that can’t be safeguarded in nature, says: “Conserving any species usually requires a whole range of actions and captive breeding is increasingly a requirement for many threatened amphibians. Auckland Zoo’s recent success with Archey’s frog is exciting news and represents an important breakthrough”.

Professor Jonathan Baillie, Director of Conservation Programmes at the Zoological Society and London and the driving force behind the EDGE of Existence – a programme set up to highlight and conserve one-of-a-kind species on the verge of extinction, says “breeding one of the most primitive and threatened species on the planet is an amazing achievement and a major breakthrough for conservation”. “It will help to ensure the future of the world’s most ‘Evolutionarily Distinct & Globally Endangered’ (EDGE) amphibian and its truly fascinating parenting practices,” says Professor Baillie.

Auckland Zoo is the only facility in the world to hold Archey’s frogs, which it does with the blessing of Hauraki whanui iwi and Marokopa-Kiritihere iwi.

While not currently on display, visitors to Auckland Zoo will soon be able to see adult Archey’s frogs in the Zoo’s Night Forest habitat within its New Zealand precinct, Te Wao Nui.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Gordon Campbell: On John Key’s Trip To Iraq

In the embedded press coverage on this trip, the absence so far of any evaluation of the wider context of what New Zealand thinks it is doing at Camp Taji has been striking. More>>


Labour: Parata Puts Brakes On Charter School Appraisal

“When the Ministry of Education recommended they compare the achievements of children at charter schools to those of their counterparts at state schools, the documents show Hekia Parata specifically prohibited them from doing so." More>>


Bad Day For Universities: Gun, Bomb Threats On Three Campuses

Dunedin Police are continuing their investigation into the threat made against the University of Otago. Staff are following a number of lines of inquiry, and police are working to verify the authenticity and source of the post. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Deal Reached In Atlanta

Yes, the TPP has helped to knock a few points off the tariffs facing our exporters. Yet some of those alleged dollar gains may well have been made regardless over time – and without the negative baggage of the concessions in the non-trade areas (intellectual property, copyright extensions, investor-state dispute mechanisms etc) that the TPP deal also brings in its wake. More>> (Cartoon by Dave Wolland)

Public Summaries:


Wellington.Scoop: Serco – First The Prisons, And Now It Wants To Run The Trains

As the government continues its inquiry into Serco’s discredited administration of Mt Eden prison in Auckland, here in Wellington there’s further scrutiny of the British outsourcing company – because it’s competing to take over the running of our commuter trains. More>>


Pre-Signing: Gordon Campbell On The TPP Countdown

To date, the Key government has been unwilling to share any information about this TPP deal until it is too late for outraged public opinion to affect the outcome... the disclosure process is likely to consist of a similarly skewed and careful exercise in spin. More>>


Australia Deportations: English Relaxed On Immigration Centre Conditions

Labour's Annette King: “There have been numerous reports from inside these detention centres on just how bad conditions are... If they were being held in any other foreign jail, I imagine Mr English would be somewhat concerned. More>>


Schools: Achievement-Based Funding Would Be A Disaster

The Education Minister’s speech to the PPTA Conference raising the spectre of achievement data driving a new funding system would be disastrous, says NZEI Te Riu Roa. More>>

  • Video Out-Link - PPTA Annual Conference 2015 on Livestream (Q+A dicussion suggests funding would be directed to less successful schools.)

  • ALSO:

    ECE Report:

    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news