Saddleback toad

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Saddleback toads
Brachycephalus ephippium01.jpg
Spix’s saddleback toad, Brachycephalus ephippium
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Neobatrachia
Family: Brachycephalidae
Günther, 1858
Genus: Brachycephalus
Fitzinger, 1826

See text

Distribution of Brachycephalus (in black)

The saddleback toads are the family Brachycephalidae /ˈbrækɨsɛˈfælɨd/ in the order Anura. As traditionally defined, the family is often limited to just one genus, Brachycephalus, but it is closely related to Ischnocnema, which therefore is placed in the family in recent treatments.[1][2] Brachycephalus species are tiny, often yellow frogs that are native to Atlantic Forest in southeastern Brazil. In at least one species, B. ephippium, the bright colours are aposematic, warning potential predators of its toxicity, specifically tetrodotoxin.[3]

Brachycephalus species are very small frogs, up to 1.8 cm (0.71 in) in length (mostly around 1 cm or 0.39 in), and include the smallest frog in the Southern Hemisphere, Izecksohn's toad (Brachycephalus didactylus).[4] They have only three toes on each foot, and two fingers on each hand. This is in contrast to the usual five toes and four fingers of most frogs.

Brachycephalus species are active during the day, and live in the leaf litter on forest floors. The eggs undergo direct development, hatching into miniature frogs, without a tadpole stage.[4] The eggs are laid on the ground, and covered in soil to protect them from the heat and predators. Their amplexus method is unusual, in that it begins with inguinal amplexus, with the male holding the female around the waist, and then shifts to axillary amplexus, in which the male grips above the female's arms. Most frogs species only use one technique.




  1. ^ AmphibiaWeb (2013). Brachycephalidae. Retrieved 29 January 2013
  2. ^ Hedges, S.B., Duellman, W.E., and Heinicke, M.P. (2008). New World direct-developing frogs (Anura: Terrarana): Molecular phylogeny, classification, biogeography, and conservation. Zootaxa 1737: 1-182
  3. ^ Pires Jr., Sebbena, Schwartza, Larguraa, Bloch Jr., Moralesa, and Schwartza (2002). Occurrence of tetrodotoxin and its analogues in the Brazilian frog Brachycephalus ephippium (Anura: Brachycephalidae). Toxicon 40(6): 761-766
  4. ^ a b Zweifel, Richard G. (1998). Cogger, H.G. & Zweifel, R.G., ed. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. p. 103. ISBN 0-12-178560-2. 
  5. ^ Napoli, M.F., Caramaschi, U., Cruz, C.A.G., & Dias, I.R. "A new species of flea-toad, genus Brachycephalus Fitzinger (Amphibia: Anura: Brachycephalidae), from the Atlantic rainforest of southern Bahia, Brazil." Zootaxa 2739 (2011): 33-40.