Leiopelma is one of the most basally diverging members of Anura and is the only member of the Leiopelmatidae (Ford and Cannatella, 1993). Historically, both Leiopelma and Ascaphus were grouped together into the Amphicoela based on shared primitive characters such as the presence of free ribs, amphicoelous vertebrae, epipubic cartilages, and the caudalipuboischiotibialis muscle (Green and Cannatella, 1993). However, more recent studies break the Amphicoela into two less inclusive groups, the Ascaphidae and Leiopelmatidae (Ford and Cannatella, 1993). Synapomorphies of Leiopelma include the presence of ventral inscriptional ribs, low diploid chromosome numbers, absence of a horny beak in larvae, and the reduction of the opercular folds during development (Green and Cannatella, 1993).
There are three extant members of Leiopelmatidae, L. archeyi, L. hamiltoni, and L. hochstetteri. These frogs are restricted to New Zealand, and each species resides on separate islands. Three fossil species also are known from the North Island of New Zealand.
About the Species
This specimen was collected in Dome Valley, New Zealand by J. Robb, A. Banbury, and S. Gittos on 3 March 1976 and was made available to The University of Texas High-Resolution X-ray CT Facility for scanning courtesy of the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. Funding for scanning was provided by a National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative grant to Dr. Timothy Rowe of The University of Texas at Austin.
Dorsal view of skull
Ventral view of skull
About this Specimen
This specimen was scanned by Matthew Colbert on 3 March 2002 along the coronal axis for a total of 986 1024x1024 pixel slices. Each slice is 0.0502 mm thick, with an interslice spacing of 0.0502 mm and a field of reconstruction of 44.0 mm.
Daugherty, C.H., B.D. Bell, and L.R. Maxson. 1982. Phylogenetic relationships within the New Zealand frog genus Leiopelma: Immunological evidence. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 9:239-242.
Ford, L.S. and D.C. Cannatella. 1993. The major clades of frogs. Herpetological Monographs 7:94-117.
Green, D.M. 1994. Genetic and cytogenetic diversity in Hochstetter's frog, Leiopelma hochstetteri, and its importance for conservation management. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 21:417-424.
Green, D.M. and D.C. Cannatella. 1993. Phylogenetic significance of the amphicoelous frogs, Ascaphidae and Leiopelmatidae. Ethology Ecology & Evolution 5:233-245.
Green, D.M., T.F. Sharbel, R.A. Hitchmough, and C.N. Daugherty. 1989. Genetic variation in the genus Leiopelma and relationships to other primitive frogs. Zeitschrift fuer Zoologische Systematik und Evolutionsforschung 27:65-80.
Green, D.M. and C. Tessier. 1990. Distribution and abundance of Hochstetter's frog Leiopelma hochstetteri. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 20:261-268.
Stephenson, E.M. 1951. The anatomy of the head of the New Zealand Frog, Leiopelma. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London 27:255-305.
Stephenson, E.M. 1952. The vertebral column and appendicular skeleton of Leiopelma hochstetteri Fitzinger. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 79:601-613.
Stephenson, E.M. 1960. The skeletal characters of Leiopelma hamiltoni McCulloch, with particular reference to the effects of heterochrony on the genus. Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 88:473-488.
Worthy, T.H. 1987. Osteology of Leiopelma (Amphibia: Leiopelmatidae) and descriptions of three new subfossil Leiopelma species. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 17:201-252.
Leiopelma on the Tree of Life web project