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The recent decline of a New Zealand endemic: how and why did populations of Archey's frog Leiopelma archeyi crash over 1996-2001?


Bell, BD and Carver, SS and Mitchell, NJ and Pledger, S, The recent decline of a New Zealand endemic: how and why did populations of Archey's frog Leiopelma archeyi crash over 1996-2001?, Biological Conservation, 120, (2) pp. 189-199. ISSN 0006-3207 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2004.02.011


Dramatic changes have been documented in New Zealand's vertebrate faunas since human settlement, involving major declines and extinctions, but over recent years few species have declined in numbers so rapidly as the terrestrial Archey's frog Leiopelma archeyi (Anura: Leiopelmatidae). Long-term monitoring over more than 20 years revealed a major population reduction of the species over 1996-2001 and L. archeyi is now classified as Nationally Critical under the New Zealand threat classification system. The decline progressed northwards in the Coromandel ranges, and mostly larger (female) frogs survived. On a 100 m2 study plot at Tapu Ridge, annual population estimates averaged 433 frogs (SE 32) over 1984-1994, declining by 88% to average 53 frogs (SE 8) over 1996-2002. A mean annual survival rate of 82% for most years declined to 33% over 1994-1997. There is mounting evidence to suggest that disease is the major agent of decline, supported by (1) the rapidity and severity of decline, (2) the progressive (south to north) nature of decline, and (3) finding frogs with chytriodiomycosis from Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis at the time of decline. Surprisingly, sympatric populations of the semi-aquatic Leiopelma hochstetteri have not declined dramatically, nor has a western population of L. archeyi at Whareorino, despite chytridiomycosis occurring in some frogs there. Sustaining and restoring populations of L. archeyi in New Zealand raises major challenges for conservation management.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Assessment and management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean ecosystems
UTAS Author:Carver, SS (Associate Professor Scott Carver)
ID Code:80243
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:77
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2012-10-24
Last Modified:2022-08-23

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