Telmatobius Wiegmann, 1834

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Telmatobiidae > Genus: Telmatobius
61 species

Telmatobius Wiegmann, 1834, in Meyen (ed.), Reise in die Erde K. Preuss. Seehandl., 3(Zool.): 512. Subsequently also published by Wiegmann, 1834, Nova Acta Phys. Med. Acad. Caesar Leopold Carol., Halle, 17: 262. Type species: Telmatobius peruvianus Wiegmann, 1834, by monotypy. See comment on date of publication.

Pseudobatrachus Peters, 1873, Monatsber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1873: 414. Type species: Pseudobatrachus jelskii Peters, 1873, by monotypy. Synonymy by Boulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 191.

Batrachophrynus Peters, 1873, Monatsber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin, 1873: 411. Type species: Batrachophrynus macrostomus Peters, 1873, by subsequent designation of Gorham, 1966, Das Tierreich, 85: 33. Synonymy by Aguilar and Valencia, 2009, Rev. Peruana Biol., 16: 46.

Cophaeus Cope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 312. Replacement name for Telmatobius—Boulenger, 1882.

Lynchophrys Laurent, 1983, Acta Zool. Lilloana, 37: 111. Type species: Batrachophrynus brachydactylus Peters, 1873, by original designation. Synonymy by implication of Sinsch and Juraske, 1995, Alytes, 13: 52-66; formal synonymy with Batrachophrynus by Sinsch, Salas, and Canales, 1995, Alytes, 13: 38. Synonymy with Telmatobius by Aguilar and Pacheco, 2005, in Lavilla and De la Riva (eds.), Monogr. Herpetol., 7: 234; by implication.

Nomina inquirenda - Name(s) unassigned to a living or extinct population

Telmatobius laevis Philippi, 1902, Supl. Batr. Chil. Descr. Hist. Fis. Polit. Chile: 43. Syntypes: MNHNC (2 specimens) according to the original publication; one of these now FMNH 9978 (on exchange from MNHNC according to Schmidt, 1928, Rev. Chilena Hist. Nat., 32: 103). Type locality: "Potrero", Chile. Cei, 1962, Batr. Chile: 63, noted that the type locality had not been located with certainty. Cuevas, 2013, Herpetol. J., 23: 145-152, provides illustrations of the syntypes, designated MNHNC 9978 lectotype, and discussed the likelihood that the type locality is Potrero Grand to the west of the city of Santiago, Chile. He noted that the second of the original syntypes is a member of Alsodes nodosus. Although he argued that the lectotype is a Telmatobius, he did not resolve the assignment of this name to any naturally occurring population. Potrero Spiny-chest Frog (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 70).

English Names

Water Frogs (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 84).

Andes Smooth Frogs (Batrachophrynus [no longer recognized]: Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 70).


Andean South America, Ecuador to Chile and Argentina.


de Macedo, 1960, Z. Wiss. Zool., Leipzig, 163: 355–396, summarized the known subspecies. Cei, 1980, Monit. Zool. Ital., N.S., Monogr., 2: 234–272, reviewed the Argentinian species and discussed the taxonomic problems. Chilean species reviewed by Veloso, Sallaberry-Ayerza, Navarro, Iturra-Constant, Valencia, Penna, and Diaz, 1982, in Veloso and Bustos (eds.), El Ambiente Nat. y Los Pobl. Humanas de los Andes: 133–194. Lavilla and Laurent, 1989 "1988", Alytes, 7: 90–96, provide a preliminary key to the species of Catamarca Province, Argentina. Wiens, 1993, Occas. Pap. Mus. Nat. Hist. Univ. Kansas, 162: 1–76, reviewed the species of northern Peru, provided a key to this region, discussed the lack of evidence of monophyly of the genus, and discussed possible relationships with other genera. The name Telmatobius was published twice: first in 1834 (Wiegmann, 1834, in Meyen (ed.), Reise in die Erde K. Preuss. Seehandl., 3(Zool.)), and then in early 1835 (Wiegmann, 1834, Nova Acta Phys. Med. Acad. Caesar Leopold Carol., Halle, 17: 185–268). For additional discussion see Lavilla, 1997, Cuad. Herpetol., 11: 75–80, Anonymous, 1910, Cat. Books Mss Maps Brit. Mus., Vol. 3, and Bauer and Adler, 2001, Arch. Nat. Hist., London, 28: 313–326. Vellard, 1992, in Dejoux and Iltis (eds.), Lake Titicaca: 449–457, summarized his view of the systematics of the Telmatobius marmoratus and Telmatobius culeus group in the vicinity of Lake Titicaca. But, see Benavides, 2005, in Lavilla and De la Riva (eds.), Monogr. Herpetol., 7:167–185, for a discussion of systematics of Lake Titicaca Telmatobius. Formas, Benavides, and Cuevas, 2003, Herpetologica, 59: 253–270, provided a key to the species of Chile and noted that the diagnosis of Telmatobius is questionable and the taxon may be paraphyletic. Aguilar and Pacheco, 2005, Asoc. Herpetol. Esp., Monogr. Herpetol., 7: 219–228, discussed phylogeny of Telmatobius on the basis of buccopharyngeal characters of the larvae and assuming a close relationship of Telmatobius to Batrachophrynus. Lehr, 2005, in Lavilla and De la Riva (eds.), Monogr. Herpetol., 7: 39–64, discussed the species of Peru. De la Riva, 2005, in Lavilla and De la Riva (eds.), Monogr. Herpetol., 7: 65–102, discussed the species of Bolivia. Formas, Veloso, and Ortiz, 2005, in Lavilla and De la Riva (eds.), Monogr. Herpetol., 7: 103–114, discussed the species of Chile. Lavilla and Barrionuevo, 2005, in Lavilla and De la Riva (eds.), Monogr. Herpetol., 7: 115–165, discussed the species of Argentina. Formas, Cuevas, and Nuñez, 2006, Herpetologica, 62: 180, discussed the monophyly of the group as well as characters supporting this. Vera Candioti, 2008, Zootaxa, 1938: 40–60, compared larval morphology of species in northwestern Argentina. Barrionuevo and Baldo, 2009, Zootaxa, 2030: 1–20, commented on the comparative morphology and color patterns of Argentinian species. Prior to the revision of Frost, Grant, Faivovich, Bain, Haas, Haddad, de Sá, Channing, Wilkinson, Donnellan, Raxworthy, Campbell, Blotto, Moler, Drewes, Nussbaum, Lynch, Green, and Wheeler, 2006, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 297, nominal Batrachophrynus was placed in the tribe Telmatobiini of Lynch, 1971, Misc. Publ. Mus. Nat. Hist. Univ. Kansas, 53: 113, but transferred to Calyptocephalellinae by Burton, 1998, Am. Mus. Novit., 3229: 1–13 (who apparently did not realize that the oldest name for this inclusive taxon is Batrachophrynidae). Sinsch and Juraske, 1995, Alytes, 13: 52–66, suggested the monophyly of this genus (including Telmatobius brachydactylus) with respect to Telmatobius, but did not address a possible relationship to calyptocephalellines. Aguilar and Pacheco, 2005, in Lavilla and De la Riva (eds.), Monogr. Herpetol., 7: 219–238, suggested that Batrachophrynus is the sister taxon of Telmatobius, including former Batrachophrynus brachydactylus, which they suggested should be transferred into Telmatobius. See comment under Calyptocephalellidae and Telmatobius carrillae. Córdova and Descailleaux, 2005, in Lavilla and De la Riva (eds.), Monogr. Herpetol., 7: 187–217, provided karyotypic evidence in support of Batrachophrynus being polyphyletic and imbedded within Telmatobius. Aguilar and Valencia, 2009, Rev. Peruana Biol., 16: 43–50, provided a phylogenetic analysis of morphology and concluded that Batrachophrynus was imbedded within Telmatobius and placed Batrachophrynus in the synonymy of Telmatobius. De la Riva, García-París, and Parra-Olea, 2010, Syst. Biodiversity, 8: 49–61, reported on mtDNA relationships among the species found in Bolivia and suggested a biogeography for these species. Sinsch and Lehr, 2010, J. Herpetol., 44: 495–505, discussed some aspects of the evidence for the synonymy of Batrachophrynus with Telmatobius. Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543–583, in their study of Genbank sequences, provided a tree of exemplar species although not bearing on the issue of Batrachophrynus. Aguilar, Catenazzi, Venegas, and Siu-Ting, 2012, Phyllomedusa, 11: 37–49, discussed the morphological synapomorphies of the genus. Sáez, Fibla, Correa-Quezada, Sallaberry-Ayerza, Salinas, Veloso, Mella, Iturra-Constant, and Méndez, 2014, Zool. J. Linn. Soc., 171: 769–782, provided a mtDNA tree of populations in Chile and adjacent Bolivia and delimited a new species group, Telmatobius zapahuirensis group which includes Telmatobius chusmisensis, Telmatobius vilmaensis, Telmatobius dankoi, and Telmatobius zapahuirensis. In addition these authors delimited a large number of unnamed lineages. Barrionuevo, 2017, Cladistics, 33: 41–68, reported on the morphological phylogenetics wthin Telmatobius and recognized four species groups, although not all species were assigned to groups. Sáez, Zúñiga-Reinoso, Fibla, Cruz-Jofré, Aguilar, Aparicio, Cusi, Otálora, and Méndez, 2022, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 176 (107594): 1–12, reported on the molecular phylogenetics of the Telmatobius marmoratus complex, delimiting several unnamed candidate species.  

Contained taxa (61 sp.):

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