This family includes two living genera, Discoglossus and Alytes. Both are small frogs (Snout vent-length about 40-70 mm). The family is distributed in Europe and northwest Africa (Arnold et al., 1978).
Discoglossus (Painted Frogs) resemble true frogs of the genus Rana; they are somewhat smooth and shiny. The shape of the pupil is like an inverted teardrop. Painted frogs are usually found in and around water.
Midwife toads (Alytes) are stockier, more toadlike, and more terrestrial, being found in woodlands and rocky areas. The male of Alytes obstetricans carries the strings of eggs, adherent to his back and thighs, until they hatch into water. The tadpoles are ordinary pond-type tadpoles with median spiracle, beaks, and two upper and three lower rows of denticles.
Alytes muletensis was first described as a new genus, Baleaphryne, from Pleistocene fossil material. It was only later discovered that the species was still extant on the island of Mallorca, which is part of Spain (Hemmer and Alcover, 1984). The genus Baleaphryne was later synonymized into Alytes.
With the removal of Bombina and Barbourula from Discoglossidae, the fossil range of the family is unclear. See below under "Phylogenetic Relationships."
Evolution and Systematics
Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships
- Spondylophryne †
- Scotiophryne †
- Prodiscoglossus †
- Pelophilus †
- Paradiscoglossus †
- Latonia †
- Baranophrys †
Discoglossidae is the node-based name for the ancestor of Alytes + Discoglossus, and its descendants. By this definition, some fossils currently referred to "Discoglossidae", such as †Eodiscoglossus and †Latonia, likely will be excluded when their phylogenetic relationships are understood. The synapomorphies of Discoglossidae include a V-shaped parahyoid bone (convergent with Pelodytes) and a narrow epipubic cartilage plate (Cannatella, 1985).
Almost all workers have placed Alytes, Discoglossus, Bombina, and Barbourula in the same taxon, although the dissimilarity of Alytes and Discoglossus, on one hand, and Bombina on the other has often been noted (e.g., Lanza et al., 1976). Synapomorphies of Discoglossanura (Ford and Cannatella, 1993) reject the monophyly of "Discoglossidae" as traditionally used. However, Hay et al. (1995) found Bombina orientalis and Discoglossus pictus to be closest relatives; this supports the traditional arrangement of the Discoglossidae.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:203
Specimens with Barcodes:191
Species With Barcodes:13
The Alytidae are a family of primitive frogs. Their common name is painted frogs or midwife toads. Most are endemic to Europe, but there are also three species in northwest Africa, and a species formerly thought to be extinct in Israel.
This family is also known as Discoglossidae, but the older name Alytidae has priority and is now recognized by major reference works. However, some researchers suggest that Alytes and Discoglossus are different enough to be treated as separate families, implying resurrection of Discoglossidae.
Genera and species
The family contains three extant genera, Alytes, Discoglossus, and Latonia. The first is somewhat toad-like and can often be found on land. The second is smoother and more frog-like, preferring the water. The third genus was until recently considered extinct, and is represented by the recently rediscovered Hula painted frog. All of the species have pond-dwelling tadpoles.
- Genus Alytes
- Genus Discoglossus
- Genus Latonia
- Latonia nigriventer - Hula painted frog
- Genus †Enneabatrachus (prehistoric)
Iberian midwife toad (Alytes cisternasii)
Iberian or Portuguese painted frog (Discoglossus galganoi)
Fossil discoglossid from Miocene (†Latonia seyfriedi)
- Foster, J. (2007). "Enneabatrachus hechti" Jurassic West: The Dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation and Their World. Indiana University Press. p. 137.
- Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Alytidae Fitzinger, 1843". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- "Alytidae Fitzinger, 1843". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
- "Alytidae". AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- Blackburn, D.C.; Wake, D.B. (2011). "Class Amphibia Gray, 1825. In: Zhang, Z.-Q. (Ed.) Animal biodiversity: An outline of higher-level classification and survey of taxonomic richness". Zootaxa 3148: 39–55.
- Zweifel, Richard G. (1998). Cogger, H.G. & Zweifel, R.G., ed. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 85–86. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.
- Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Bombinatoridae Gray, 1825". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- San Mauro, Diego; Mario Garcia-Paris and Rafael Zardoya (December 2004). "Phylogenetic relationships of discoglossid frogs (Amphibia:Anura:Discoglossidae) based on complete mitochondrial genomes and nuclear genes". Gene 343 (2): 357–366. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2004.10.001. PMID 15588590.
- San Mauro, Diego; Miguel Vences, Marina Alcobendas, Rafael Zardoya and Axel Meyer (May 2005). "Initial diversification of living amphibians predated the breakup of Pangaea" (– Scholar search). American Naturalist 165 (5): 590–599. doi:10.1086/429523. PMID 15795855.
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