Leiopelmatidae facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
New Zealand primitive frogs
Temporal range: 200–0Ma
Early Jurassic – Recent
Hochstetter's Frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Archaeobatrachia
Family: Leiopelmatidae
Mivart, 1869
Genus: Leiopelma
Fitzinger, 1861

See text.

Distribution of Leiopelmatidae (in black)

Leiopelmatidae, or New Zealand and North American primitive frogs, is a family belonging to the suborder Archaeobatrachia. There are only four Leiopelma and two Ascaphus species alive now. Leiopelma are only found in New Zealand. Ascaphus are only found in North America.


Leiopelmatidae have an extra vertebrae. They have the remains of the tail muscles.

When Leiopelmatid jump, they land in a "belly flop". After landing, Ascaphus skids to a halt before recovering.

They are very small frogs, only 5 centimetres (2.0 in) in length. Most species lay their eggs in moist ground, typically under rocks or plants. After hatching the tadpoles nest in the male's back. They do not need standing or flowing water. Life span may be long at more than 30 years.



  • Genus Leiopelma
    • Archey's Frog, Leiopelma archeyi Turbott, 1942
    • Hamilton's Frog, Leiopelma hamiltoni McCulloch, 1919
    • Hochstetter's Frog, Leiopelma hochstetteri Fitzinger, 1861
    • Maud Island Frog, Leiopelma pakeka Bell, Daugherty & Hay, 1998
  • Genus Ascaphus
    • Tailed Frog, Ascaphus truei
    • Rocky Mountain Tailed Frog, Ascaphus montanus

Extinct species

Three extinct species are known by subfossil remains, also from New Zealand. They became extinct during the past 1,000 years.

  • †Leiopelma auroraensis
  • †Leiopelma markhami
  • †Leiopelma waitomoensis

Much older fossils, dating back to the Jurassic, have been found in Argentina, such as Notobatrachus.

Leiopelmatidae Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.