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37-year-old New Zealand frog world's oldest?

world Updated: May 16, 2012 10:34 IST

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Scientists in New Zealand claimed to have found the world's oldest frog -- aged 37.

The Maud Island frog, nicknamed Wellington by researchers, also has two other geriatric friends, a male, Gollum, 35, and a female, Xena, 34.

"I can't think of any other frog species anywhere that lives over the age of 30," Victoria University associate professor Ben Bell told the Dominion Post newspaper.

He is tracking three frogs on Maud Island for 25 years. The tiny frogs, just five centimetres long, stay within just a few square metres of their habitat their whole lives.

This may have been a factor for their longevity, Bell said. "They're ambush hunters. They just sit there waiting for something to come along, so they don't expend much energy." A favourite snack is spiders.

The three frogs were found in the 1970s and were tagged by having the tip of a toe lopped off. That might seem harsh, but Bell said no lasting harm was done. "That's borne out by the long lives they've led."

Wellington however, tired of being followed by scientists in the 1980s, and went into hiding from 1985 till 2007.