AmphibiaWeb - Pelobatidae
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  Pelobatidae (see family information on Tree of Life site)

4 species in 1 genus

Spadefoot Toads

This family has recently been revised, consisting entirely of the genus Pelobates, which occurs in western Eurasia and northwestern Africa. Members of this family and the family Scaphiopodae (the genera Spea and Scaphiopus, which occur throughout North America, from southern Canada down to southern Mexico) are collectively known as the “spadefoot toads” due to the presence of a keratinized “spade” on each hind foot which aids in burrowing. Pelobatids inhabit arid habitats and are known as “explosive” breeders due to their seeming to explode out of the ground after the first heavy rain in order to mate. They produce tadpoles that develop rapidly in temporary ponds, even in desert regions. They have short legs and stocky bodies with vertical pupils. Morphological characters for this group are: 1) sacroccygial (sacrum and urostyle) joint fused; 2) frontoparietal exostosed (with bony growths) (mainly in Pelobates and Scaphiopus); 3) metatarsal spade supported by well ossified hallux; 4) palatines absent; 5) pectoral girdle arciferal with distinct sternum and omosternum; 6) astragalus and calcaneum fused only at the ends.


Pelobates cultripes
Photo by Iñigo Martínez-Solano
(Click for details)

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Genus Pelobates (4 species)
Pelobates cultripes AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Pelobates fuscus AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Pelobates syriacus AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Pelobates varaldii AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video


Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2014. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: http://amphibiaweb.org/. (Accessed: 2014).

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