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Eleutherodactylus guttilatus.jpg
Eleutherodactylus guttilatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Superfamily: Hyloidea
Family: Leptodactylidae
Werner, 1896
Leptodactylidae distribution.PNG
Distribution of Leptodactylidae (in black)

The Southern Frogs form Leptodactylidae, a diverse family of frogs that probably diverged from other hyloids during the Cretaceous.[1] Of the roughly 50 genera, one, Eleutherodactylus, is the largest vertebrate genus, with over 700 species. In total, the approximately 1100 leptodactylid species are widely distributed throughout Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The family is often considered paraphyletic and has no morphological synapomorphies.[2] The family includes terrestrial, burrowing, aquatic, and arboreal members, inhabiting a wide range of different habitats.[3]

Several of the genera within Leptodactylidae lay their eggs in foam nests. These can be in crevices, on the surface of water, or on forest floors. These foam nests are some of the most varied among frogs. When eggs hatch in nests on the forest floor, the tadpoles remain within the nest, without eating, until metamorphosis. In the genus Eleutherodactylus, the eggs undergo direct development and hatch directly into miniature frogs, with no free-living tadpole stage.[3]

Leptodactylids are well represented in the fossil record, and one specimen from the genus Eleutherodactylus was wholly preserved in amber 37 million years ago.[3]


As of mid 2015, the Amphibian Species of the World uses the following classification:[4]


  1. ^ Heinicke, M.P., W.E. Duellman & S.B. Hedges (2007). "Major Caribbean and Central American frog faunas originated by ancient oceanic dispersal". Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 104 (24): 10092–7. doi:10.1073/pnas.0611051104. PMC 1891260. PMID 17548823. 
  2. ^ "AmphibiaWeb: Information on Amphibian Biology and Conservation". University of California, Berkeley, CA. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  3. ^ a b c Zweifel, Richard G. (1998). Cogger, H.G. & Zweifel, R.G., ed. Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 89–90. ISBN 0-12-178560-2. 
  4. ^ Frost, Darrel R. (2015). "Leptodactylidae Werner, 1896 (1838)". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 28 August 2015. 

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