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Temporal range: 70.6–0 Ma Cretaceous – recent
European tree frog Hyla arborea
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Superfamily: Hyloidea
Family: Hylidae
Rafinesque, 1815
Distribution of Hylidae (in black)

Hylidae is a wide-ranging family of frogs commonly referred to as "tree frogs and their allies". However, the hylids include a diversity of frog species, many of which do not live in trees, but are terrestrial or semiaquatic.

Taxonomy and systematics


The earliest known fossils that can be assigned to this family are from the Cretaceous of India and the state of Wyoming in the United States.[1]

The common name of "tree frog" is a popular name for several species of the family Hylidae. However, the name "treefrog" is not unique to this family, also being used for many species in the family Rhacophoridae.

The following genera are recognised in the family Hylidae:[2][3][4][5]

The subfamilies Pelodryadinae and Phyllomedusinae are sometimes classified as distinct families of their own due to their deep divergence and unique evolutionary history (with Pelodryadinae being the sister group to Phyllomedusinae and colonizing Australia during the Eocene via Antarctica, which at the time was not yet frozen over), but are presently retained in the Hylidae.[2][6]



Most hylids show adaptations suitable for an arboreal lifestyle, including forward-facing eyes providing binocular vision, and adhesive pads on the fingers and toes. In the nonarboreal species, these features may be greatly reduced, or absent.

Distribution and habitat


The European tree frog (Hyla arborea) is common in the middle and south of Europe, and its range extends into Asia and North Africa.

North America has many species of the family Hylidae, including the gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor) and the American green tree frog (H. cinerea). The spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) is also widespread in the eastern United States and is commonly heard on spring and summer evenings.

Behaviour and ecology


Species of the genus Cyclorana are burrowing frogs that spend much of their lives underground.[7]



Hylids lay their eggs in a range of different locations, depending on species. Many use ponds, or puddles that collect in the holes of their trees, while others use bromeliads or other water-holding plants. Other species lay their eggs on the leaves of vegetation hanging over water, allowing the tadpoles to drop into the pond when they hatch.[7]

A few species use fast-flowing streams, attaching the eggs firmly to the substrate. The tadpoles of these species have suckers enabling them to hold on to rocks after they hatch. Another unusual adaptation is found in some South American hylids, which brood the eggs on the back of the female. The tadpoles of most hylid species have laterally placed eyes and broad tails with narrow, filamentous tips.[7]



Hylids mostly feed on insects and other invertebrates, but some larger species can feed on small vertebrates.



  1. ^ "Fossilworks: Hylidae". fossilworks.org. Retrieved 17 December 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Hylidae Rafinesque, 1815 | Amphibian Species of the World". amphibiansoftheworld.amnh.org. Retrieved 26 August 2022.
  3. ^ Faivovich, Julián; Haddad, Célio F. B.; Garcia, Paulo C. A.; Frost, Darrel R.; Campbell, Jonathan A.; Wheeler, Ward (2005). "Supplemental Material for 'Systematic review of the frog family Hylidae, with special reference to Hylinae : phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision. (Bulletin of the AMNH ; no. 294)'". doi:10.5531/sd.sp.12. hdl:2246/6615. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Faivovich, Julián; Pereyra, Martín O.; Luna, María Celeste; Hertz, Andreas; Blotto, Boris L.; Vásquez-Almazán, Carlos R.; McCranie, James R.; Sánchez, David A.; Baêta, Délio; Araujo-Vieira, Katyuscia; Köhler, Gunther; Kubicki, Brian; Campbell, Jonathan A.; Frost, Darrel R.; Wheeler, Ward C. (23 April 2018). "On the Monophyly and Relationships of Several Genera of Hylini (Anura: Hylidae: Hylinae), with Comments on Recent Taxonomic Changes in Hylids". South American Journal of Herpetology. 13 (1): 1. doi:10.2994/SAJH-D-17-00115.1. hdl:11336/94370. ISSN 1808-9798. S2CID 90074090.
  5. ^ Orrico, Victor G.D.; Grant, Taran; Faivovich, Julian; Rivera-Correa, Mauricio; Rada, Marco A.; Lyra, Mariana L.; Cassini, Carla S.; Valdujo, Paula H.; Schargel, Walter E.; Machado, Denis J.; Wheeler, Ward C.; Barrio-Amorós, Cesar; Loebmann, Daniel; Moravec, Jiří; Zina, Juliana (February 2021). "The phylogeny of Dendropsophini (Anura: Hylidae: Hylinae)". Cladistics. 37 (1): 73–105. doi:10.1111/cla.12429. ISSN 0748-3007. PMID 34478175.
  6. ^ Feng, Yan-Jie; Blackburn, David C.; Liang, Dan; Hillis, David M.; Wake, David B.; Cannatella, David C.; Zhang, Peng (18 July 2017). "Phylogenomics reveals rapid, simultaneous diversification of three major clades of Gondwanan frogs at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 114 (29): E5864–E5870. Bibcode:2017PNAS..114E5864F. doi:10.1073/pnas.1704632114. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 5530686. PMID 28673970.
  7. ^ a b c Zweifel, Robert G. (1998). Cogger, H.G.; Zweifel, R.G. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 93–94. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.

public domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainReynolds, Francis J., ed. (1921). Collier's New Encyclopedia. New York: P. F. Collier & Son Company. {{cite encyclopedia}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

Further reading

  • "Amero-Australian Treefrogs (Hylidae)". William E. Duellman. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. Ed. Michael Hutchins, Arthur V. Evans, Jerome A. Jackson, Devra G. Kleiman, James B. Murphy, Dennis A. Thoney, et al. Vol. 6: Amphibians. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 2004. p225-243.

Data related to Hylidae at Wikispecies