Overview

Brief Summary

Introduction

This group includes 8 genera in the subfamilies Arthroleptinae and Astylosterninae. The group is restricted to sub-Saharan Africa. Some arthroleptines have terrestrial development. Astylosternines have vertical pupils. Arthroleptids have cartilaginous sterna, in contrast to ranids. Trichobatrachus robustus is the Hairy Frog. Its skin has hairlike projections that are used in cutaneous respiration in the water. There are no fossils.

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Comprehensive Description

Summary

Arthroleptis species are small to medium-sized brown frogs that live and breed in the leaf litter of the forest floor. Their eggs are laid in moist soil or leaves and develop directly into small frogs without passing through a free-swimming tadpole stage. Males in breeding condition typically have a distinctly elongated third finger. The genus Leptopelis includes species that are morphologically and ecologically quite different from the Arthroleptis species. Leptopelis species are medium to large-sized tree frogs with vertical pupils. Until recently they were included in the family Hyperoliidae. Females of some Leptopelis species are known to lay their eggs in mud cavities and the tadpoles move into water after hatching (Text from Harper et al., 2010).

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© Zimkus, Breda

Source: African Amphibians Lifedesk

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Distribution

The family Arthroleptidae is confined to sub-Saharan Africa.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© Zimkus, Breda

Source: African Amphibians Lifedesk

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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships

  • Arthroleptidae
    • Astylosterninae
      • Astylosternus
      • Leptodactylodon
      • Nyctibates
      • Scotobleps
      • Trichobatrachus
    • Arthroleptinae
      • Arthroleptis
      • Cardioglossa
      • Schoutedenella
from Frost (1985)The arthroleptids (arthroleptines and astylosternines) were separated as a distinct family by Dubois (1981). Duellman and Trueb (1986) recognized Arthroleptinae and Astylosterninae as subfamilies of Ranidae. According to Laurent (1986), they are distinctive among ranids, but similar to hyperoliids, in having a cartilaginous sternum, vertical pupil, a free second distal carpal, a free second distal tarsal. The last two of these are questionable (see account under "Ranidae"). Ford and Cannatella (1993) treated Arthroleptidae* as a metataxon and did not provide a phylogenetic definition, because no synapomorphies of the group are known.

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