European spadefoot toad
|European spadefoot toads
Temporal range: Late Jurassic – Recent
|Pelobates fuscus fuscus|
|The distribution of extant pelobatids (in black).|
The European spadefoot toads are a family of frogs, the Pelobatidae, with only one extant genus Pelobates, containing four species. They are native to Europe, the Mediterranean, northwestern Africa, and western Asia.
The European spadefoot toads are small- to large-sized frogs, up to 10 cm (3.9 in) in length, which are often inconspicuously coloured. They are predominantly fossorial (burrowing) frogs, which burrow in sandy soils. They have hardened protrusions on their feet to aid in digging, which is the source of the common name. They will emerge from the ground during periods of rain and breed in pools, which are usually temporary.
All of the species from this family have free-living, aquatic tadpoles. The eggs are laid in temporary ponds that may quickly evaporate, so tadpole stage is unusually brief, with rapid development to the adult form in as little as two weeks. To further speed their growth, some of the tadpoles are cannibalistic, eating their brood-mates to increase their supply of protein.
The seven species of American spadefoot toads (genera Scaphiopus and Spea) were previously also included into the Pelobatidae family, but are now generally regarded as the separate family Scaphiopodidae.
- Genus †Elkobatrachus
- †Elkobatrachus brocki
- Genus Pelobates
In the Jurassic Morrison Formation, pelobatids are represented by the illium of an unnamed but indeterminate species. This illium is larger than that of Enneabatrachus, a contemporary discoglossid species. A specimen has been recovered from Quarry 9 of Como Bluff in Wyoming. Pelobatids are present in stratigraphic zones 5 and 6 of the formation.
- Foster, J. (2007). "Pelobatidae indet." Jurassic West: The Dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation and Their World. Indiana University Press. p. 137.
- Zweifel, Richard G. (1998). Cogger, H.G. & Zweifel, R.G., ed. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 88. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.
- Tron, François (2005): The Eastern spadefoot Toad (Pelobates syriacus): A new amphibian species for Lebanon
- Foster, J. (2007). "Appendix." Jurassic West: The Dinosaurs of the Morrison Formation and Their World. Indiana University Press. pp. 327-329.
- Gissi, Carmela; Diego San Mauro, Graziano Pesole and Rafael Zardoya (February 2006). "Mitochondrial phylogeny of Anura (Amphibia): A case study of congruent phylogenetic reconstruction using amino acid and nucleotide characters". Gene 366 (2): 228–237. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2005.07.034. PMID 16307849.
- Roelants, Kim; Franky Bossuyt (February 2005). "Archaeobatrachian paraphyly and pangaean diversification of crown-group frogs". Systematic Biology 54 (1): 111–126. doi:10.1080/10635150590905894. PMID 15805014.
- San Mauro, Diego; Miguel Vences, Marina Alcobendas, Rafael Zardoya and Axel Meyer (May 2005). "Initial diversification of living amphibians predated the breakup of Pangaea". American Naturalist 165 (5): 590–599. doi:10.1086/429523. PMID 15795855. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
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