AMPHIBIAWEB

Brevicipitidae

35 species in 5 genera

Commonly Called Rain Frogs


Breviceps adspersus
Photo by Thomas Eimermacher
(Click for family gallery)

Previously considered as part of the Microhylidae, there is now strong support that the five genera comprising the monophyletic Brevicipitidae, following Frost et al. (2006), are part of a larger lineage of African frogs including the Hemisotidae, Hyperoliidae and Brevicipitidae. Several studies confirm Brevicipitidae is the sister group of Hemisotidae.

All Brevicipitids are rounded in body and exhibit reductions in their skull. Breviceps is notable for its extreme difference in male and female body sizes. Male frogs are so much smaller and have such short limbs relative to their volume that they are unable to amplex. Instead, they have an adhesive secretion from the skin that allows males and females to "stick" together during mating. Roughly spherical clutches of eggs are deposited in subterranean chambers. All five genera are believed to have direct development in which fully metamorphosed young hatch directly from eggs.

Brevicipitids are restricted to the eastern and southern parts of sub-Saharan Africa, from Ethiopia south to Angola and South Africa.

Written by David Blackburn and AmphibiaWeb

Notable Family Characteristics

  • Terrestrial and fossorial
  • Found in forests and desert habitats
  • Direct development
  • Many species inflate their body when perturbed
  • Characters uniting this clade include: (1) lack of ossified sphenethmoids; (2) an extremely short head; (3) middle ear absent.
  • Distribution limited to the sub-Saharan Africa, from Ethiopia south to Angola and South Africa

Relevant Reference

Frost, D. R., T. Grant, J. Faivovich, R. H. Bain, A. Haas, C. F. B. Haddad, R. O. de Sá, A. Channing, M. Wilkinson, S. C. Donnellan, C. J. Raxworthy, J. A. Campbell, B. L. Blotto, P. E. Moler, R. C. Drewes, R. A. Nussbaum, J. D. Lynch, D. M. Green, and W. C. Wheeler. 2006. The amphibian tree of life. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297: 1–370.

Pough, F. H., R. M. Andrews, M. L. Crump, A. H. Savitzky, K. D. Wells, and M. C. Brandley. 2015. Herpetology. Fourth Edition. Massachusetts: Sinauer.

Vitt, L. J., and J. P. Caldwell. 2013. Herpetology. An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Fourth Edition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Genus Balebreviceps (1 species)
Balebreviceps hillmani AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video

Genus Breviceps (18 species)
Breviceps acutirostris no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Breviceps adspersus AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Breviceps bagginsi AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Breviceps branchi no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Breviceps carruthersi no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Breviceps fichus no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Breviceps fuscus AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Breviceps gibbosus no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Breviceps macrops AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Breviceps montanus no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Breviceps mossambicus no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Breviceps namaquensis no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Breviceps passmorei no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Breviceps poweri no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Breviceps rosei no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Breviceps sopranus no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Breviceps sylvestris AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Breviceps verrucosus AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video

Genus Callulina (9 species)
Callulina dawida no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Callulina hanseni no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Callulina kanga no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Callulina kisiwamsitu no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Callulina kreffti no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Callulina laphami AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Callulina meteora no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Callulina shengena no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Callulina stanleyi no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video

Genus Probreviceps (6 species)
Probreviceps durirostris no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Probreviceps loveridgei no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Probreviceps macrodactylus no AmphibiaWeb account photos no sound/video
Probreviceps rhodesianus no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Probreviceps rungwensis no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video
Probreviceps uluguruensis no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video

Genus Spelaeophryne (1 species)
Spelaeophryne methneri no AmphibiaWeb account no photos no sound/video


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