The aims of this paper are to describe the distribution and status of bell frog populations in New Zealand and to highlight the potential benefits these New Zealand populations have for collaborative studies. Bell frogs (Litoria aurea and L. raniformis) were introduced to New Zealand in the late 19th century. Over the past 100 years they have managed to spread to many parts of the entire country. Although their preferred habitat does not often overlap with that of the indigenous Leiopelma spp., their presence has raised many concerns within the local frog conservation community. The Native Frog Recovery Group (DOC, New Zealand) has the primary objective of securing populations of indigenous frogs (Leiopelma spp.) but in light of the high conservation status of bell frogs in Australia members of the group have often discussed their moral obligations regarding the conservation of introduced bell frogs in New Zealand. Although Leiopelma are totally protected species in New Zealand, bell frog tadpoles are commonly sold as pets and are regularly moved between North and South Islands. Advocacy for indigenous frogs relies heavily on previous exposure to the more charismatic and frequently encountered introduced bell frogs. The barriers associated with working on endangered and protected frogs in Australia could be avoided by conducting important conservation-related research on bell frogs in New Zealand. Several research projects (e.g. cryopreservation of female gametes, chytrid research) are briefly described that would provide data for more effective conservation of these species. In 2006 the New Zealand Frog Research Group was formed which provides the necessary infrastructure for such collaborative studies.
Research Article| October 14 2011
Bell frog populations in New Zealand - good news or bad news?
Australian Zoologist (2008) 34 (3): 408–413.
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Phillip Bishop; Bell frog populations in New Zealand - good news or bad news?. Australian Zoologist 1 October 2008; 34 (3): 408–413. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2008.018
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