Brevicipitidae Bonaparte, 1850

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Brevicipitidae
37 species

Brevicipitina Bonaparte, 1850, Conspect. Syst. Herpetol. Amph.: 1 p. Type genus: Breviceps Merrem, 1820. Priority over Engystomidae Bonaparte, 1850, by First Revisor action of Dubois, 1983, Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Lyon, 52: 270-276.

Engystomidae Bonaparte, 1850, Conspect. Syst. Herpetol. Amph.: 1 p. Type genus: Engystoma Fitzinger, 1826. Synonymy by Stejneger, 1910, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 23: 165; Dubois, 1984, Mem. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. Paris, A—Zool., 131: 40.

Systomata Stannius, 1856, Handb. Zootomie Wiebelthiere, 2: 5. Type genus: Systoma Wagler, 1830. Objective synonym of Brevicipitidae through the type species.

EngystomatidaeGünther, 1858, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1858: 346.

BrevicipitidaeCope, 1867, J. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, Ser. 2, 6: 190.

EngystomitidaeHoffmann, 1878, in Bronn (ed.), Die Klassen und Ordnungen des Thier-Reichs, 6(2): 617.

EngystomataPeters, 1882, Naturwiss. Reise Mossambique, Zool. 3: 172.

EngystomatidaKnauer, 1878, Naturgesch. Lurche: 108.

EngystomatinaeGadow, 1901, Amphibia and Reptiles: 139.

BrevicipitinaeStejneger, 1910, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 23: 167; Van Kampen, 1923, Amph. Indo-Austral. Arch.: x, 95.

EngistomatidaeMethuen and Hewitt, 1913, Ann. Transvaal Mus., 4: 58.

EngistomatinaeMethuen and Hewitt, 1913, Ann. Transvaal Mus., 4: 58.

BrevicipetidaeRomer, 1933, Vert. Paleontol.: 437.

BrevicepitidaeMiranda-Ribeiro, 1937, O Campo, 1937: 56.

BrevicipinaeLynch, 1971, Misc. Publ. Mus. Nat. Hist. Univ. Kansas, 53: 203.

BrevicepinaeBogart and Tandy, 1981, Monit. Zool. Ital., N.S., Suppl., 15: 59.

BrevicipitidaeDubois, 2005, Alytes, 23: 13.

BreviciptidaeDu Preez and Carruthers, 2009, Compl. Guide Frogs S. Afr.: 102. Incorrect subsequent spelling.

Rastapodidae Matojo, 2015, J. Biol. Nat., Tarkeshwar, India, 4: 200. Type genus: Breviceps Merrem, 1820. Invalidly and needlessly named family group. A bizarre paper proving that anything can be published (DRF). 

Brevicipitoidea — Zhang, Liang, Hillis, Wake, and Cannatella, 2013, Mol. Biol. Evol., 30: 1904; Dubois, Ohler, and Pyron, 2021, Megataxa, 5: 226. Superfamily. 

Callulininae Dubois, Ohler, and Pyron, 2021, Megataxa, 5: 226. Type genus: Callulina Nieden, 1911. Subfamily. 

English Names

Rain Frogs (Vitt and Caldwell, 2009, Herpetology, 3rd Ed.: 468).


Sub-saharan East and Southern Africa.


Blommers-Schlösser, 1993, Ethol. Ecol. Evol., 5: 199-218, suggested a close relationship between Hemisus (Hemisotidae) and Breviceps (Brevicipitinae, Microhylidae, at the time), but this was doubted by Channing, 1995, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 44: 55-57. van der Meijden, Vences, and Meyer, 2004, Proc. R. Soc. London, B—Suppl. Biol. Lett., 271: S378-S381, and van der Meijden, Vences, Hoegg, and Meyer, 2005, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 37, presented molecular evidence of a close relationship of Hemisotidae and Brevicipitinae (then in Microhylidae), with both more closely related to arthroleptids and hyperoliids than to microhylids. Loader, Gower, Howell, Doggart, Rödel, de Sá, Cohen, and Wilkinson, 2004, Organisms Divers. Evol., 4: 227-235, on the basis of mtDNA evidence suggested a phylogeny of Breviceps (Spelaeophryne + (Callulina + Probreviceps)), but because they examined only Breviceps mossambicus they did not document the monophyly of Breviceps. They also could not support with confidence that Hemisus is the closest relative of brevicipitines, as suggested by Blommers-Schlösser, 1993, Ethol. Ecol. Evol., 5: 199-208. Dubois, 2005, Alytes, 23: 13, suggested to expand the content of Brevicipitidae to include Arthroleptinae, Astylosterninae Hemisotinae, Hyperoliinae, and Leptopelinae. 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: 231, discussed the taxonomic history, confirmed Brevicipitidae as the sister taxon of Hemisotidae, and retained the traditional content of the taxon. Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543-583, confirmed the placement of Brevicipitidae as the sister taxon of Hemisotidae. Blackburn and Wake, 2011, In Zhang (ed.), Zootaxa, 3148: 39-55, briefly discussed the nomenclatural and taxonomic history of this group. Vitt and Caldwell, 2014, Herpetology, 4th Ed., provided a summary of life history, diagnosis, and taxonomy. Yuan, Zhang, Raxworthy, Weisrock, Hime, Jin, Lemmon, Lemmon, Holland, Kortyna, Zhou, Peng, Che, and Prendini, 2018, Natl. Sci. Rev., Beijing, 6: 10–14, reported on phylogenetics and biogeography as an element of Natatanura. Portik, Bell, Blackburn, Bauer, Barratt, Branch, Burger, Channing, Colston, Conradie, Dehling, Drewes, Ernst, Greenbaum, Gvoždík, Harvey, Hillers, Hirschfeld, Jongsma, Kielgast, Kouete, Lawson, Leaché, Loader, Lötters, van der Meijden, Menegon, Müller, Nagy, Ofori-Boateng, Ohler, Papenfuss, Rößler, Sinsch, Rödel, Veith, Vindum, Zassi-Boulou, and McGuire, 2019, Syst. Biol., 68: 866, confirmed the monophyly of Xenosyneunitanura, a taxon composed of Hemisotidae and Brevicipitidae, as a member of Afrobatrachia.     

Contained taxa (37 sp.):

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