SYDNEY - Researchers have stumbled upon a 37-year-old frog in New Zealand, making it one of the longest living frogs known to science.
A male of the threatened species called Maud Island Frog was found to be 37 years old, another male was 35 and a female was 34. Most frog species live between four and 15 years.
A study by a team from Victoria University of Wellington led by associate professor Ben Bell recently found the frogs during an ongoing study.
Bell said Maud Island Frogs have proven to be some of the oldest known frogs in the wild.
‘What I thought might be a five-year study is still ongoing, with many frogs surviving over 25 years. We also studied Archey’s frog and Hochstetter’s frog in the Coromandel Ranges (of New Zealand), and discovered these species are long-lived also. Our oldest known Archey’s frog is 23 years old, and Hochstetter’s frog is 12 years old.’
Bell is director of Victoria University’s Centre for Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology, and his study of Archey’s frog in the Coromandel Ranges alerted conservation agencies to the species’ sudden decline in the late 1990s.
His team discovered that the species was infected with the pathological amphibian chytrid fungus there.
Bell said the team also initiated a trial translocation of 100 Maud Island Frogs to a restored site at Boat Bay on Maud Island 25 years ago, which had proven successful.