AmphibiaWeb - Calyptocephalellidae


(Translations may not be accurate.)


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5 species in 2 genera

Commonly Called Helmeted Water Toads, False Toads

Calyptocephalella gayi
Calyptocephalella gayi
Photo by Peter Janzen
(Click for family gallery)

The family Calyptocephalellidae is confined to Chile, and contains two genera, Calyptocephalella and Telmatobufo. Calyptocephalella gayi, the Helmeted Water Toad, is the sole species within its genus and was formerly known as Caudiverbera caudiverbera. Helmeted Water Toads are large, aquatic frogs, with females reaching up to 320 mm snout-vent length. The other genus, Telmatobufo, are smaller species and live in or next to fast-flowing streams in temperate Nothofagus forest.

This family has undergone taxonomic revision since it was originally named Batrachophrynidae (Frost et al. 2006), but then had to be renamed to Calyptocephalellidae (Frost 2007) when it was realized that prior karyotypic work by Córdova and Descailleaux (2005) had suggested that the genus Batrachophrynus was actually aligned with Telmatobius and thus nested within the family Ceratophryidae. Subsequent analyses support Calyptocephalella and Telmatobufo as sister groups.

Written by AmphibiaWeb

Notable Family Characteristics

  • Aquatic
  • Aquatic tadpoles; Telmatobufo tadpoles live in fast-moving streams and have oral suction discs
  • Robust, toadlike body
  • Sexual dimorphism in Calyptocephalella where females are larger (up to 320 mm snout-vent length) than males (up to 120 mm)
  • Axillary amplexus
  • Distribution limited to mountains of Chile in South America
Calyptocephalellidae Richness map

Cartography Credit: Zoe Yoo, UC Berkeley
Range maps sources: AmphibiaWeb, UC Berkeley, and IUCN RedList

Relevant Reference

Córdova, J. and Descailleaux, J. (2005), in Lavilla, E. O., and De la Riva, I. (Eds.) 2005. Studies on the Andean frogs of the genera Telmatobius and Batrachophrynus. Asociación HerpetológicEspañola, Monografías de Herpetología 7, Valencia, Spain.

Frost, D. R., Grant, T., Faivovich, J., Bain, R. H., Haas, A., Haddad, C. F. B., de Sá, R. O., Channing, A., Wilkinson, M., Donnellan, S. C., Raxworthy, C. J., Campbell, J. A., Blotto, B. L., Moler, P., Drewes, R. C., Nussbaum, R. A., Lynch, J. D., Green, D. M., and Wheeler, W. C. (2006). The amphibian tree of life. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 297, 1-370.
Frost, D. R. 2007. Amphibian Species of the World Online, version 5.0.

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

Genus Calyptocephalella (1 species)
Calyptocephalella gayi account photos no sound/video

Genus Telmatobufo (4 species)
Telmatobufo australis account no photos no sound/video
Telmatobufo bullocki account no photos no sound/video
Telmatobufo ignotus no account no photos no sound/video
Telmatobufo venustus account photos no sound/video

Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: (Accessed:

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