Leiopelma archeyi 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Leiopelmatidae

Scientific Name: Leiopelma archeyi Turbott, 1942
Common Name(s):
English Archey's Frog, Coromandel New Zealand Frog
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6 (27 January 2014). New York, USA. Available at: (Accessed: 27 January 2014).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered A2ab ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2015-07-21
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Luedtke, J.
Contributor(s): Haigh, A., Bell, B., Bell, E., Cisternas, J., Carter, K., Easton, L., Bishop, P., Burns, R., Hitchmough, R. & Wren, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Wren, S.
Listed as Critically Endangered because the dramatic population decline of 88% in the Coromandel sub-population occurred within the last 3 generations; while the population has stabilized at the new lower level, there is no indication of a return to its former size (Bell and Pledger 2015). The cause of this population decline is not well understood, and may not have ceased. This is by far the largest of the three subpopulations - at the others, there are too few data to allow qualification of population trend - and so it is very likely that the decline in the total population exceeds 80% in the past three generations. Population declines are thought to be ongoing at sites in Whareorino where non-native predators are not controlled (McKenzie et al. in press).
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:L. archeyi is found in the North Island, New Zealand, where the largest sub-populations are in the Coromandel Range. A smaller sub-population is also found in a 6 km2 area of the Whareorino Forest in the west, from which a translocation sub-population was moved to Pureora Forest Park in the central North Island in 2006. 
These 3 sub-populations are thought to occur in 4 threat-defined locations. Its area of occupancy has been estimated as 1,376 km2 and the extent of occurrence 13,881 km2; monitoring programmes have not recorded any evidence of ongoing decline in either value.
Countries occurrence:
New Zealand
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1376Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):No
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:13881
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):NoExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:4Continuing decline in number of locations:No
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):50
Upper elevation limit (metres):1000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


The total population size is not well known, but has been estimated by Bishop et al. (2013) at 5,000 – 20,000 individuals. Population densities have been recorded at up to 4.8 frogs per m2 in the Coromandel (Bell 1997), and emergence rates at up to 77 individuals per 100 m2 at Whareorino (Daglish 2010).

A massive decline in population size was recorded in the Coromandel Range; from 1984-1994 annual population estimates for the plot had averaged 433 individuals, which declined by 88% to just 53 frogs over 1996-2002 (Bell et al. 2004). The population appears to have stabilised at this lower level (Bell 2010, Bell and Pledger 2015). Population declines are seen in monitoring grids in Whareorino at sites where non-native predator control is not being carried out, however increased recruitment is seen at sites where trapping is carried out (McKenzie, K.L., Pledger, S. and Haigh, A., in press).
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:5000-20000Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:4

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Leiopelma archeyi currently occurs in moist native forest, but this terrestrial species is not associated with running water. It lays small clutches of eggs in moist sites under rocks or logs. Eggs undergo direct development, with young hatching as small froglets. This species exhibits parental care, with tailed froglets spending several weeks on their father’s back immediately after hatching, where they complete metamorphosis (Bell 1985, Bishop et al. 2013). Long-term monitoring studies indicate its generation length is 15 years.
Generation Length (years):15
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are no records of the species being utilized or traded.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Historically, the greatest threats to Leiopelma archeyi were probably a combination of predation by non-native mammals, and habitat loss and modification. Non-native predators, in particular rats, remain a threat to this species; populations have responded positively where predator control has been carried out (McKenzie et al. in press).

Evidence pointed to infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus as the cause of the massive population decline around 1996 (Bell et al. 2004), but the definitive cause is still not known and other factors may have contributed to the declines.

Mining within the Coromandel stronghold of this species has been proposed in recent years; should this go ahead it would represent a massive threat to the species from large-scale habitat destruction and modification. 

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Conservation Action In Place

Through its Native Frog Recovery Group and 2013-2018 Native Frog Recovery Plan (Bishop et al. 2013), the NZ Department of Conservation (DOC) administers conservation management of this species and permits appropriate species research.

Invasive predator control programmes now mitigate the effects of non-native mammalian predators at some sites, although much of the range of this species remains in areas where no predator control programme is carried out.

In addition, an ex-situ population of L. archeyi is held at Auckland Zoo, who are making progress with captive husbandry techniques.

Conservation Needed

Expansion of non-native predator control would be of benefit to this species. Biosecurity protocols should continue to reduce the spread of disease between sites.

Monitoring of all sub-populations should continue.

Lack of public awareness of cryptic native frogs does not aid conservation efforts; increased public awareness of this species would be of benefit, particularly at sites where L. archeyi are found beyond protected habitats.


Research Needed

Research into the cause of the 1996 population decline is necessary so that an appropriate conservation response can be implemented; this research should be backed up with ongoing population monitoring efforts. Further research on basic life-history parameters is also required, which would be of great benefit for management when population modelling could be of assistance in conservation planning.

More research into the benefits of controlling non-native mammalian predators would be of benefit, so that this intervention can be implemented to maximum effect.

The effects of toxins, including herbicides and pesticides, is not well understood and further research into the subject would be of benefit for conservation management.    

Ongoing work to refine captive husbandry and breeding techniques needs to be maintained for the ex-situ populations to act as an effective insurance population.

Research has been carried out on the effects of chytrid fungus on this species, and this should continue so that information can feed into conservation planning.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2017. Leiopelma archeyi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T11450A66654575. . Downloaded on 23 June 2018.
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