Hochstetter’s Frog / pepeketua

Photo courtesy of Euan Brook

Species: Hochstetter’s Frog / pepeketua
Location: Distributed in at least 10 fragmented and isolated populations in the northern half of the North Island
Status: Vulnerable (at risk – declining)
Threats:  They are currently under threat because of loss of habitat, introduced predators and a fungal infection attacking all four remaining native frog species.


The Hochstetter’s Frog

In New Zealand, we currently have four species of native frogs and three species of introduced frogs. All New Zealand’s unique native species (genus Leiopelma) as well as two of the introduced species (the Bell frogs Litoria aurea and Litoria raniformis) have been listed as threatened or endangered.  New Zealand’s native frogs are an ancient group of frogs that have changed very little in the last 70 million years.

The Hochstetter’s frog has a brown-green to brown-red top with dark bands and warts and yellow-brown bellies. Males grow to 38 mm (1.5 in) and females 50 mm (2.0 in). It can take 3-4 years for the Hochstetter’s froglets to develop to full adult and they can live up to 30 years.

This species used to be widespread but is now distributed in only 10 known fragmented and isolated populations in the northern half of the North Island – Waitakere and Hunua Ranges, Dome Valley, the Coromandel Peninsula, Great Barrier Island, Maungatautari Ecological Island, and the East Cape. The total population size across New Zealand is estimated to be c. 100,000 individuals.


Taking action to conserve the Hochstetter’s Frog

As part of our Wild Futures programme, Conservation Volunteers New Zealand will be working in partnership with the Department of Conservation, Auckland Council and Mondelēz International to help create a Wild Future for the Hochstetter’s Frog. We will help the recovery of the Hochstetter’s Frog by:

  • Increasing predator control at key sites
  • Monitoring and population studies
  • Habitat restoration
  • Education

This programme will begin with the protection of a colony of frogs in the Waitakere Ranges near Whatipu by helping to fund predator control in the area alongside Auckland Council. This  programme will soon be scaled up to other areas and also extend to another New Zealand frog species, the Archey’s Frog. We have also created educational resources which will be delivered to schools across New Zealand soon.


Help save the Hochstetter’s Frog

You can be a part of this important recovery work to help the Hochstetter’s Frog by donating to our Wild Futures programme.