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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Distribution

The family Arthroleptidae is confined to sub-Saharan Africa.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Source: Animal Diversity Web

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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis

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Reproduction

Key Reproductive Features: gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)

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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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Wikipedia

Arthroleptidae

The Arthroleptidae /ˌɑrθrɵˈlɛptɨd/ are a family of frogs found in sub-Saharan Africa.[1] They are also known as squeakers because of their high-pitched calls. They are small, less than 4 cm (1.6 in) in length, terrestrial frogs found mostly in leaf litter on the forest floor. They completely bypass any aquatic stage, so do not have tadpoles. They lay their eggs on the ground, in crevices or in leaf litter, and the offspring undergo direct development. Some species hatch already completely metamorphosed into the adult form, while others still have tails when they hatch.[2]

Overview[edit]

This family contains a unique frog, the hairy frog (Trichobatrachus robustus). Breeding male hairy frogs develop highly vascularised, hair-like projections on their thighs and flanks. They will sit on their eggs for long periods of time, and the hairs are thought to assist in respiration through the skin, while they cannot use their lungs in the water. The hairy frog is also notable in possessing retractable "claws" (though unlike true claws, they are made of bone, not keratin), which it may project through the skin, apparently by intentionally breaking the bones of the toe [1]. In addition, the researchers found a small bony nodule nestled in the tissue just beyond the frog's fingertip. When sheathed, each claw is anchored to the nodule with tough strands of collagen, but when the frog is grabbed or attacked, the frog breaks the nodule connection and forces its sharpened bones through the skin.

Amphibian researcher and biologist David Wake of the University of California, Berkeley, says this type of weaponry appears to be unique in the animal kingdom. But David Cannatella, a herpetologist at the University of Texas, Austin, questions whether the bony protrusions are meant for fighting. They could allow a frog's feet "to get a better grip on whatever rocky habitat they might be in", he says.[3]

Taxonomy[edit]

The Arthroleptidae ares separated into three subfamilies: Arthroleptinae, Astylosterninae and Leptopelinae.[1] Some consider these to be separate families, while others do not recognize any subfamilies.[4]

The three subfamilies consist of these genera:[1]

SubfamiliaSpeciesCommon nameScientific name
Arthroleptinae
Mivart, 1869
47Screeching frogsArthroleptis Smith, 1849
16Long-fingered frogsCardioglossa Boulenger, 1900
Astylosterninae
Noble, 1927
12Night frogsAstylosternus Werner, 1898
15Egg frogsLeptodactylodon Andersson, 1903
1Southern night frogNyctibates Boulenger, 1904
1Gaboon forest frogScotobleps Boulenger, 1900
1Hairy frogTrichobatrachus Boulenger, 1900
Leptopelinae
Laurent, 1972
52Forest treefrogsLeptopelis Günther, 1859

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Frost, Darrel R. (2014). "Arthroleptidae Mivart, 1869". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 4 July 2014. 
  2. ^ Zweifel, Robert G. (1998). Cogger, H.G. & Zweifel, R.G., ed. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 101. ISBN 0-12-178560-2. 
  3. ^ http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2008/528/2
  4. ^ 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. 

^ *" 'Horror frog' breaks own bones to produce claws." NewScientist.com, 2008

Further information[edit]

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