True frog

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True frogs
Cyprus water frog (Pelophylax cypriensis).jpg
Cyprus water frog
Pelophylax cypriensis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Neobatrachia
Clade: Ranoidea
Family: Ranidae
Rafinesque, 1814

See text

The true frogs, family Ranidae, have the widest distribution of any frog family. They are abundant throughout most of the world, occurring on all continents except Antarctica. The true frogs are present in North America, northern South America, Europe, Africa (including Madagascar), and Asia. The Asian range extends across the East Indies to New Guinea and a single species (the Australian wood frog (Hylarana daemelii)) has spread into the far north of Australia.

Typically, true frogs are smooth and moist-skinned, with large, powerful legs and extensively webbed feet. The true frogs vary greatly in size, ranging from small—such as the wood frog (Lithobates sylvatica)—to large.

Many of the true frogs are aquatic or live close to water. Most species lay their eggs in the water and go through a tadpole stage. However, as in most families of frogs, there is large variation of habitat within the family. There are also arboreal species of true frogs, and the family includes some of the very few amphibians that can live in brackish water.[1]


The subdivisions of the Ranidae are still a matter of dispute, although most are coming to an agreement. Several former subfamilies are now recognised as separate families (Petropedetidae, Cacosterninae, Mantellidae, and Dicroglossidae). The genus Rana has now been split up and is much reduced in size.

While too little of the vast diversity of true frogs has been subject to recent studies to say something definite, as of mid-2008, studies are going on, and several lineages are recognizable.[2][3][4]

The following phylogeny of some genera was recovered by Che et al., 2007 using mitochondrial genes.[6]








Sylvirana (1)


Sylvirana (2)



Sylvirana (3)

Sylvirana (4)









Ishikawa's frog (Odorrana ishikawae)
Bicolored frog (Clinotarsus curtipes), related to Meristogenys and Huia

Most of the subfamilies formerly included under Ranidae are now treated as separate families, leaving only Raninae remaining. The following genera are recognised in the family Ranidae:

Incertae sedis[edit]

A number of taxa are placed in Ranidae incertae sedis, that is, their taxonomic status is too uncertain to allow more specific placement.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gordon, Malcolm S.; Schmidt-Nielsen, Knut; Kelly, Hamilton M. (1961): Osmotic Regulation in the Crab-Eating Frog (Rana cancrivora). J. Exp. Biol. 38 (3): 659–678. PDF fulltext
  2. ^ Cai, Hong-xia; Che, Jing; Pang, Jun-feng; Zhao, Er-mi; Zhang, Ya-ping (2007): Paraphyly of Chinese Amolops (Anura, Ranidae) and phylogenetic position of the rare Chinese frog, Amolops tormotus. Zootaxa 1531: 49–55. PDF fulltext
  3. ^ Kotaki, Manabu; Kurabayashi, Atsushi; Matsui, Masafumi; Khonsue, Wichase; Djong, Tjong Hon; Tandon, Manuj; Sumida, Masayuki (2008): Genetic Divergences and Phylogenetic Relationships Among the Fejervarya limnocharis Complex in Thailand and Neighboring Countries Revealed by Mitochondrial and Nuclear Genes. Zool. Sci. 25 (4): 381–390. doi:10.2108/zsj.25.381 (HTML abstract)
  4. ^ Stuart, Bryan L. (2008): The phylogenetic problem of Huia (Amphibia: Ranidae). Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 46 (1): 49-60. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.09.016 PDF fulltext
  5. ^ Amphibian Species of the World 5.5, an Online Reference. "Hylarana Tschudi, 1838". American Museum of Natural History.
  6. ^ "Phylogeny of Raninae (Anura: Ranidae) inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear sequences". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 43 (1): 1–13. 2007-04-01. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.11.032. ISSN 1055-7903.