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New World Direct-Developing Frogs (Anura: Terrarana): Molecular Phylogeny, Classificaiton, Biogeography, and Concervation

News Release

The Center for North American Herpetology, Lawrence KS, April 4, 2008



2008. Zootaxa 1737: 1-182

S. Blair Hedges, William E. Duellman & Matthew P. Heinicke

Abstract: New World frogs recently placed in a single, enormous family (Brachycephalidae) have direct development and reproduce on land, often far away from water. DNA sequences from mitochondrial and nuclear genes of 344 species were analyzed to estimate their relationships. The molecular phylogeny in turn was used as the basis for a revised classification of the group. The 882 described species are placed in a new taxon, Terrarana, and allocated to four families, four subfamilies, 24 genera, 11 subgenera, 33 species series, 56 species groups, and 11 species subgroups. Systematic accounts are provided for all taxa above the species level. Two families (Craugastoridae and Strabomantidae), three subfamilies (Holoadeninae, Phyzelaphryninae, and Strabomantinae), six genera (Bryophryne, Diasporus, Haddadus, Isodactylus, Lynchius, and Psychrophrynella), and two subgenera (Campbellius and Schwartzius) are proposed and named as new taxa, 13 subspecies are considered to be distinct species, and 613 new combinations are formed. Most of the 100 informal groups (species series, species groups, and species subgroups) are new or newly defined.

Brachycephalus and Ischnocnema are placed in Brachycephalidae, a relatively small clade restricted primarily to southeastern Brazil. Eleutherodactylidae includes two subfamilies, four genera, and five subgenera and is centered in the Caribbean region. Craugastoridae contains two genera and three subgenera and is distributed mainly in Middle America. Strabomantidae is distributed primarily in the Andes of northwestern South America and includes two subfamilies, 16 genera, and three subgenera. Images and distribution maps are presented for taxa above the species level and a complete list of species is provided. Aspects of the evolution, biogeography, and conservation of Terrarana are discussed.


A ~16MB PDF copy of this journal article may be obtained by contacting the senior author, S. B. Hedges (remember to remove the ! and space in the email address).



CNAH Notes:
This paper slightly reorganizes the traditional taxonomy of some of the species of frogs (both native and non-native) found in the United States, as follows:

Class Amphibia Linnaeus, 1758
Order Anura Rafinesque, 1815

The Family Brachycephalidae Gunther, 1858, as proposed and organized by Frost et al. (2006) and adopted by CNAH, is now restricted by Hedges et al. (2008) to frogs found along the eastern coast of South America and no longer applies to any anurans in North America; this name has been eliminated from the CNAH web site.

The Family Craugastoridae Hedges, Duellman & Heinicke, 2008 (Fleshbelly Frogs) has been added to the CNAH web site. It was erected by Hedges et al. (2008) for U.S. taxa as follows:

Genus Craugastor Cope, 1862 - Fleshbelly Frogs Craugastor augusti (Duges, 1879) - Barking Frog

The Family Eleutherodactylidae Lutz, 1954 (Free-toed Frogs) has been added to the CNAH web site. It was resurrected by Hedges et al. (2008) for U.S. taxa as follows:

Genus Eleutherodactylus Dumeril & Bibron, 1841 - Robber Frogs Eleutherodactylus coqui Thomas, 1966 - Puerto Rican Coqui (non-native) Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides (Cope, 1877) - Rio Grande Chirping Frog Eleutherodactylus guttilatus (Cope, 1879) - Spotted Chirping Frog Eleutherodactylus marnockii (Cope, 1878) - Cliff Chirping Frog Eleutherodactylus planirostris (Cope, 1862) - Greenhouse Frog (non-native)

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