Ascaphidae Fejérváry, 1923

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Ascaphidae
2 species

Ascaphidae Fejérváry, 1923, Ann. Hist. Nat. Mus. Natl. Hungarici, 20: 178. Type genus: Ascaphus Stejneger, 1899.

AscaphoideaLynch, 1973, in Vial (ed.), Evol. Biol. Anurans: 162.

English Names

Tailed Frogs (Vitt and Caldwell, 2014, Herpetology, 4th Ed.: 472). 


Extreme southwestern Canada and coastal northwestern USA to northern California; western Montana and northern Idaho to northeastern Oregon and southwestern Washington, USA.


Savage, 1973, in Vial (ed.), Evol. Biol. Anurans: 354, recognized Ascaphidae for Ascaphus, leaving only Leiopelma in Leiopelmatidae. Green and Cannatella, 1993, Ethol. Ecol. Evol., 5: 233–245, and Ford and Cannatella, 1993, Herpetol. Monogr., 7: 94–117, discussed reasons for the dissociation of this group from Leiopelma. 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, discussed why Leiopelma and Ascaphus should be associated and found this inclusive taxon to sit phylogenetically as the sister taxon of all other frogs, as did Roelants, Gower, Wilkinson, Loader, Biju, Guillaume, Moriau, and Bossuyt, 2007, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 104: 887–892. Bossuyt and Roelants, 2009, in Hedges and Kumar (eds.), Timetree of Life: 357–364, expanding on their 2007 phylogenetic analysis of frogs reported suggested that on the basis of time of divergence that Leiopelmatidae and Ascaphidae should be considered separate families, having diverged likely in the Triassic. Blackburn, Bickford, Diesmos, Iskandar, and Brown, 2010, PLoS One, 5 (8: e 12090): 1–8, suggested on molecular grounds that Ascaphus and Leiopelma form a monophyletic group with the most recent common ancestor in the Cretaceous. Irisarri, San Mauro, Green, and Zardoya, 2010, Mitochondrial DNA, 21: 173–182, found Leiopelmatidae (sensu lato) to be monophyletic on the basis of DNA study. Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543–583, confirmed the placement of Ascaphus as the sister taxon of Leiopelma and, following Roelants and Bossuyt, 2009, regarded the two genera as representing coordinate familes. See Dubois, 1984, Mem. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. Paris, A—Zool., 131: 1–64, for discussion of family-group nomenclature. See comment under Rhinophrynidae. Blackburn and Wake, 2011, In Zhang (ed.), Zootaxa, 3148: 39–55, briefly reviewed the taxonomic history of this taxon and regarded the two living genera as constituting distinct monotypic families although this redundancy is not required for classificatory efficiency. Vitt and Caldwell, 2014, Herpetology, 4th Ed., provided a summary of life history, diagnosis, and taxonomy.

Contained taxa (2 sp.):

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