SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.29 issue1Description of a new species of Wolfniana and new records of Rotigonalia (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Cicadellinae) from the state of Amazonas, BrazilFood niche overlap between two sympatric leaf-litter frog species from Central Amazonia author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links


Zoologia (Curitiba)

Print version ISSN 1984-4670

Zoologia (Curitiba) vol.29 no.1 Curitiba Feb. 2012 



Adults and tadpoles of species of Hylodidae (Anura): history and taxonomy perspectives



Rafael Camilo Laia*; Carlos Frederico Duarte Rocha

IDepartamento de Ecologia, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rua São Francisco Xavier 524, 20550-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil




We make a historical review of the rates of descriptions of adult and larval forms of frogs of the three genera of Hylodidae: Crossodactylus Duméril & Bibron, 1841; Hylodes Fitzinger, 1826; and Megaelosia Miranda-Ribeiro, 1923. We analyze and compare the evolution of the number of descriptions of adults and tadpoles of the 42 species presently known in the family. There has been an increase in the number of descriptions of both adult and larval forms in the last decades. Nevertheless, the number of descriptions of tadpoles still does not match the number of adult forms described in Hylodidae. The great number of Hylodidae recent described and the continuous process of deforestation in Atlantic forest remnants emphasize the need to improve research efforts for this group.

Key words: Anuran description; Atlantic Forest; Crossodactylus; Hylodes; Megaelosia.



Hylodidae is currently composed of three anuran genera: Crossodactylus Duméril & Bibron, 1841; Hylodes Fitzinger, 1826; and Megaelosia Miranda-Ribeiro, 1923 (Frost 2011). The species of this family, also known as torrent frogs, are rheophilic and are mainly associated with the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (Pombal et al. 2003, Lingnau et al. 2008, Pimenta et al. 2008, Silva & Benmaman 2008, Verdade & Rodrigues 2008). The species of Hylodidae are distributed from northeastern to southern Brazil and northern Argentina (Gallardo 1961, Carcerelli & Caramaschi 1993, Frost 2011). In this study, we conducted an extensive systematic search for publications in taxonomy describing adults and tadpoles of Hylodidae using two online tools "Amphibian Species of the World: An Online Reference" (Frost 2011) and "ISI Web of Knowledge". We looked for the following data in those sources: I) description of the adult form only, II) description of larval form only, or III) description of both forms.

Currently, Hylodidae has 42 described species (Tab. I). Tadpoles have been described only for 25 of them (59.5%) Out of the 11 species currently known in Crossodactylus, only six (54.5%) have had their larvae described. A similar trend applies to the 24 species in Hylodes: tadpoles have beendescribed for 14 species only (58.3%). Out of the seven species in Megaelosia, five (or 71.4%) of larval forms are formally known.

The first description of an adult form of a Hylodidae occurred in 1823, for H. nasus (Lichtenstein, 1823). In the following 157 years, 17 more adult forms of Hylodidae were described (Fig. 1). The remaining 24 species were described only within the last 30 years, between 1981 and 2011. The first descriptions of a larval form of a Hylodidae species occurred more than a century after the first description of the adult form, in 1930 (Lutz, 1930) [H. nasus, H. lateristrigatus and M. goeldii (Baumann, 1912)]. By the end of the 1970s, in a period of about forty years, only tadpoles of two additional species were described. From 1981 to 2011, 20 larval forms of Hylodidae species were described.



In 1982, the description of Hylodes otavioi Sazima & Bokermann was the first taxonomic contribution that included the described both larval and adult forms. Unfortunately, descriptions of species of Hylodidae that include the formal description of both the adult and the larval form are quite rare when compared with studies describing the larval form of a species already described (nine and 16 respectively).

We identified a marked increase in the rate of descriptions of both adult and larval forms after the 1980s, a trend that continues nowadays and which follows the identification and description of new species of Hylodidae (Fig. 1). The time lag between the descriptions of adult forms and their respective larval forms was about 60 years in 1960, steadily decreasing to 40 years in 2000, and to 20 years in 2010, suggesting that the description of larval forms has been intensified for the species in this group. However, the number of descriptions of tadpoles still do not match the number of adult forms of Hylodidae known to science. This difference has remained stable in recent years, because adult forms of new species continue to be described in similar proportion to larval forms. In the last decade adult forms of seven species of Hylodes (H. amnicola Pombal, Feio & Haddad, 2002; H. cardosoi Lingnau, Canedo & Pombal, 2008; H. dactylocinus Pavan, Narvaes & Rodrigues, 2001; H. fredi Canedo & Pombal, 2007; H. perere Silva & Benmaman, 2008; H. pipilans Canedo & Pombal, 2007; H. uai Nascimento, Pombal & Haddad, 2001), tadpoles of eight species [H. amnicola; H. babax Heyer, 1982; H. charadranaetes Heyer & Cocroft, 1986; H. dactylocinus; H. fredi; H. heyeri Haddad, Pombal & Bastos 1996; H. perplicatus (Miranda-Ribeiro, 1926); H. uai], an adult and tadpole of Crossodactylus (C. cyclospinus Nascimento, Cruz & Feio, 2005), andan adult and tadpole of Megaelosia (M. apuana Pombal, Prado & Canedo, 2003) have been described.

The extensive rate of deforestation of the Atlantic Forest probably has directly affected Hylodidae species, since the species found in this biome are mostly restricted to forest environments. The type-locality of only three species of Hylodidae [C. bokermanni Caramaschi & Sazima, 1985; C. trachystomus (Reinhardt & Luetken, 1862); and H. otavioi], represented by a total of 42, is outside of the Atlantic Forest biome (Fig. 2), as follows: C. bokermanni and H. otavioi were described from Serra do Cipó, state of Minas Gerais, and C. trachystomus from the municipality of Lagoa Santa, also in Minas Gerais. Both localities are within the Cerrado biome, even though are located very close to the ecotone with the Atlantic Forest. The type-locality of Hylodes uai is in the municipality of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, an Atlantic Forest-Cerrado ecotone. The type-locality of C. schmidti Gallardo, 1961 is within the Atlantic Forest of Misiones province, Argentina. Considering that the actual remaining Atlantic Forest is from 11.4% to 16.0% (Ribeiro et al. 2009) the size of its original range, we hypothesize that several Hylodidae species might be presently at serious risk of extinction, considering the continuous process of deforestation in Atlantic forest remnants.

We ascertained the conservation status of 39 out of the 42 known species of Hylodidae using the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN 2010). According to that list, Hylodes cardosoi, H.perere and M. jordanensis (Heyer, 1983) have not been evaluated. Twenty-eight out of the 39 species (71.8%) are categorized as Data Deficient (DD). The knowledge we presently have on populations and species distributions of Hylodidae is still scarce. Increased efforts in search for new populations of these frogs, and gathering more data about them (Verdade & Rodrigues 2008), will probably result in discoveries of new species (as shown at the ascending pattern in Figure 1).



We are grateful to Míriam P. Pinto for suggestions and comments on the manuscript, and for the assistance on the preparation of the map. RCL received grants from Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and Conselho Nacional do Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) (Process 141889/2010-1) at Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e Evolução (UERJ), and CFDR received grants from the CNPq (Processes 304791/2010-5 and 470265/2010-8) and from FAPERJ (Process E-26/102.404.2009) through the "Programa Cientistas do Nosso Estado".



Bastos, R.P. & J.P. Pombal Jr. 1995. New species of Crossodactylus (Anura: Leptodactylidae) from the Atlantic Rain Forest of southeastern Brazil. Copeia 1995: 436-439.         [ Links ]

Baumann, F. 1912. Brasilianische Batrachier des Berner Naturhistorischen Museums nebst Untersuchenugen über die geographische Verbreitung der Batrachier in Brasilien. Zoologische Jahrbücher. Abteilung für Systematik, Geographie und Biologie der Tiere. Jena 33: 87-172.         [ Links ]

Bokermann, W.C.A. 1956. Una nueva especies del genero Elosia del sudeste del Brasil (Amphibia Salientia, Leptodactylidae). Neotropica 2: 81-84.         [ Links ]

Bokermann, W.C.A. 1963. Girinos de anfíbios brasileiros 2 (Amphibia, Salientia). Revista Brasileira de Biologia 23 (4): 349-353.         [ Links ]

Bokermann, W.C.A. 1964. Una nueva especies de Elosia de la Serra de Mantiqueira, Brasil. Neotropica 10: 102-107.         [ Links ]

Bokermann, W.C.A. 1967. Una nueva especie de Elosia de Itatiaia, Brasil (Amphibia, Leptodactylidae). Neotropica 13: 135-137.         [ Links ]

Canedo, C. & J.P. Pombal Jr. 2007. Two new species of torrent frog of the genus Hylodes (Anura, Hylodidae) with nuptial thumb tubercles. Herpetologica 63: 224-235. doi: 10.1655/0018-0831(2007)63[224:TNSOTF]2.0.CO;2.         [ Links ]

Caramaschi, U. & G. Kisteumacher. 1989. O girino de Crossodactylus trachystomus (Reinhardt & Luetken, 1862) (Anura, Leptodactylidae). Revista Brasileira de Biologia 49 (1): 237-239.         [ Links ]

Caramaschi, U. & I. Sazima. 1985. Uma nova espécie de Crossodactylus da Serra do Cipó, Minas Gerais, Brasil (Amphibia, Leptodactylidae). Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 3: 43-49.         [ Links ]

Carcerelli, L.C. & U. Caramaschi. 1993. Ocorrência do gênero Crossodactylus Duméril & Bibron, 1841 no nordeste brasileiro, com descrição de duas espécies novas (Amphibia, Anura, Leptodactylidae). Revista Brasileira de Biologia 52: 415-422.         [ Links ]

Costa, P.N.; T. Silva-Soares; L.N. Weber & A.M.P.T. Carvalho-e-Silva. 2010a. Redescription of tadpole of the hylodid frog Hylodes asper (Müller, 1924). Zootaxa 2521: 65-68.         [ Links ]

Costa, P.N.; C.C. Siqueira; D. Vrcibradic; L.N. Weber; & C.F. Rocha. 2010b. The tadpole of the hylodid frog Hylodes charadranaetes Heyer and Cocroft, 1986. Zootaxa 2680: 65-68.         [ Links ]

Costa, T.R.N.; R. Lingnau & L.F. Toledo. 2009. The tadpoles of the Brazilian torrent frog Hylodes heyeri (Anura; Hylodidae). Zootaxa 2222: 66-68.         [ Links ]

De Witte, G.F. 1930. Liste des reptiles et batraciens récoltés au Brésil par la Mission Massart (1922-23) et description de sept nouvelles espèces, p. 214-230. In: J. Massart (Ed.). Une Mission Biologique Belge au Brésil (août 1922-mai 1923).         [ Links ]

Duméril, A.M.C. & G. Bibron. 1841. Erpétologie Genérale ou Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Paris, Librarie Enclyclopedique de Roret.         [ Links ]

Faivovich, J. 1998. Comments on the larvae of the Argentine species of the genus Crossodactylus (Leptodactylidae, Hylodinae). Alytes 16: 61-67.         [ Links ]

Francioni, E. & L.C. Carcerelli. 1993. Descrição do girino de Crossodactylus gaudichaudii Duméril & Bibron, 1841 (Anura, Leptodactylidae). Memórias do Instituto Butantan 55: 63-67.         [ Links ]

Frost, D.R. 2011. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.5. New York, American Museum of Natural History. Available online at: [Accessed: 01/V/2011]         [ Links ].

Gallardo, J.M. 1961. Anfibios anuros de Misiones con la descripcion de una nueva especie de Crossodactylus. Neotropica 7: 33-38.         [ Links ]

Giaretta, A.A. & O. Aguiar Jr. 1998. A new species of Megaelosia from the Mantiqueira Range, southeastern Brazil. Journal of Herpetology 32: 80-83.         [ Links ]

Giaretta, A.A.; W.C.A. Bokermann & C.F.D. Haddad. 1993. A review of the genus Megaelosia (Anura: Leptodactylidae) with a description of a new species. Journal of Herpetology 27: 276-285.         [ Links ]

Gouvêa, É. 1979. Uma nova espécie de elosiineo da Serra do Itatiaia (Amphibia, Anura, Leptodactylidae). Revista Brasileira de Biologia 39: 855-859.         [ Links ]

Haddad, C.F.B. & J.P. Pombal Jr. 1995. A new species of Hylodes from southeastern Brazil (Amphibia: Leptodactylidae). Herpetologica 51: 279-286.         [ Links ]

Haddad, C.F.B.; P.C.A. Garcia & J.P. Pombal Jr. 2003. Redescrição de Hylodes perplicatus (Miranda-Ribeiro, 1926) (Amphibia, Anura, Leptodactylidae). Arquivos do Museu Nacional 61 (4): 245-254.         [ Links ]

Haddad, C.F.B.; J.P. Pombal Jr. & R.P. Bastos. 1996. New species of Hylodes from the Atlantic forest of Brazil (Amphibia: Leptodactylidae). Copeia 1996: 965-969.         [ Links ]

Heyer, W.R. 1982. Two new species of the frog genus Hylodes from Caparaó, Minas Gerais, Brasil (Amphibia: Leptodactylidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 95: 377-385.         [ Links ]

Heyer, W.R. 1983. Variation and systematics of frogs of the genus Cycloramphus (Amphibia, Leptodactylidae). Arquivos de Zoologia 30: 235-339.         [ Links ]

Heyer, W.R. & R.B. Cocroft. 1986. Descriptions of two new species of Hylodes from the Atlantic forests of Brazil (Amphibia: Leptodactylidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 99: 100-109.         [ Links ]

Heyer, W.R.; A.S. Rand; C.A.G. Cruz; O.L. Peixoto & C.E. Nelson. 1990. Frogs of Boracéia. Arquivos de Zooogia 31 (4): 231-410.         [ Links ]

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. Available online at: [Accessed: 02/V/2011]         [ Links ].

Izecksohn, E. & É. Gouvêa. 1985. Nova espécie de Megaelosia de Itatiaia, Estado do Rio de Janeiro. Arquivos da Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro 8: 17-22.         [ Links ]

Laia, R.C.; P. Fatorelli; F.H. Hatano & C.F.D. Rocha. 2010. Tadpoles of Hylodes fredi (Anura; Hylodidae), a frog endemic to an Atlantic Forest island (Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro State), Brazil. Zootaxa 2640: 62-64.         [ Links ]

Lichtenstein, H. 1823. Verzeichniss der Doubletten des zoologischen Museums der Königl. Berlin, T. Trautwein, Universität zu Berlin nebst Beschreibung vieler bisher unbekannter Arten von Säugethieren, Vögeln, Amphibien und Fischen.         [ Links ]

Lingnau, R.; C. Canedo & J.P. Pombal Jr. 2008. A new species of Hylodes (Anura: Hylodidae) from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Copeia 2008: 595-602. doi: 10.1643/CH-07-091.         [ Links ]

Lutz, A. 1925. Batraciens du Brésil. Comptes Rendus et Mémoires Hebdomadaires des Séances de la Société de Biologie et des ses Filiales 93 (2): 137-139.         [ Links ]

Lutz, A. 1930. Contribution to the knowledge of brazilian batrachians. Taxonomy and biology of the Elosiinae. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 24: 223-249.         [ Links ]

Lutz, B. 1951. Nota prévia sôbre alguns anfíbios anuros do Alto Itatiaia. O Hospital 39: 705-707.         [ Links ]

Mertens, R. 1927. Neue Froschlurch aus Rio Grande do Sul, Brasilien. Blätter für Aquarien- und Terrarien-Kunde 38: 287-290.         [ Links ]

Miranda-Ribeiro, A. 1926. Notas para servirem ao estudo dos Gymnobatrachios (Anura) Brasileiros. Arquivos do Museu Nacional 27: 1-227.         [ Links ]

MMA. 2011. Biomas (MMA/IBGE). Brasília, Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Available online at: [Accessed: 11/XI/2011]         [ Links ].

Müller, L. 1924. Neue Batrachier aus Ost-Brasilien. Senckenbergiana Biologica 6: 169-177.         [ Links ]

Nascimento, L.B.; C.A.G. Cruz & R.N. Feio. 2005. A new species of diurnal frog in the genus Crossodactylus Duméril and Bibron, 1841 (Anura, Leptodactylidae) from southeastern Brazil. Amphibia-Reptilia 26: 497-505. doi: 10.1163/156853805774806214.         [ Links ]

Nascimento, L.B.; J.P. Pombal Jr. & C.F.B. Haddad. 2001. A new frog of the genus Hylodes (Amphibia: Leptodactylidae) from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Journal of Zoology 254: 421-428. doi: 10.1017/S0952836901000917.         [ Links ]

Pavan, D.; P. Narvaes & M.T. Rodrigues. 2001. A new species of leptodactlid frog from the Atlantic forests of southeastern Brazil with notes on the status and on the speciation of Hylodes species groups. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 41: 407-425.         [ Links ]

Pimenta, B.V.S.; M. Wachlevski & C.A.G. Cruz. 2008. Morphological and Acoustical variation, geographic distribution, and conservation status of the spinythumb frog Crossodactylus bokermanni Caramaschi and Sazima, 1985 (Anura, Hylodidae). Journal of Herpetology 42: 481-492. doi: 10.1670/07-164.1.         [ Links ]

Pirani, R.M.; T.L. Pezzuti; A.N. Motta & R.N. Feio. 2011. The tadpole of Hylodes babax Heyer, 1982 (Amphibia, Anura, Hylodidae). Zootaxa 2800: 64-68.         [ Links ]

Pombal Jr, J.P.; G.M. Prado & C. Canedo. 2003. A new species of giant torrent frog, genus Megaelosia, from the Atlantic Rain Forest of Espirito Santo, Brazil (Amphibia: Leptodactylidae). Journal of Herpetology 37: 453-460. doi: 10.1670/220-01A.         [ Links ]

Pombal Jr; J.P.; R.N. Feio & C.F.B. Haddad. 2002. A new species of torrent frog genus Hylodes (Anura: Leptodactylidae) from southeastern Brazil. Herpetologica 58: 462-471. doi: 10.1655/0018-0831(2002)058[0462:ANSOTF]2.0.CO;2.         [ Links ]

Reinhardt, J. T. & C.F. Lütken. 1862. Bidrag til Kundskab om Brasiliens Padder og Krybdyr. Förste Afdeling: Padderne og Öglerne. Videnskabelige Meddelelser fra Dansk Naturhistorisk Forening i Kjøbenhavn 2-3: 143-242.         [ Links ]

Ribeiro M.C.; J.P. Metzger; A.C. Martensen; F.J. Ponzoni & M.K. Hirota. 2009. The Brazilian Atlantic Forest: How much is left, and how is the remaining forest distributed? Implications for conservation. Biological Conservation 142: 1141-1153. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.02.021.         [ Links ]

Sazima, I. & W.C.A. Bokermann. 1982. Anfíbios da Serra do Cipó, Minas Gerais, Brasil. 5: Hylodes otavioi sp. nov. (Anura, Leptodactylidae). Revista Brasileira de Biologia 42: 767-771.         [ Links ]

Silva, H.R. & P. Benmaman. 2008. Uma nova espécie de Hylodes Fitzinger da Serra da Mantiqueira, Minas Gerais, Brasil (Anura: Hylodidae). Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 25: 89-99. doi: 10.1590/S0101-81752008000100013.         [ Links ]

Verdade, V.K. & M.T. Rodrigues. 2008. On the Identity of Cycloramphus jordanensis Heyer, 1983 (Anura: Cycloramphidae). Herpetologica 64: 452-457. doi: 10.1655/08-011R2.1         [ Links ]

Wogel, H.; P.A. Abrunhosa & L.N. Weber. 2004. The tadpole, vocalizations and visual displays of Hylodes nasus (Anura: Leptodactylidae). Amphibia-Reptilia 25: 219-227. doi: 10.1163/1568538041231184.         [ Links ]



Submitted: 18.V.2011;
Accepted: 20.XII.2011.
Editorial responsibility: Mauricio O. Moura

*Corresponding author, E-mail:

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License