Breviceps Merrem, 1820

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Brevicipitidae > Genus: Breviceps
20 species

Breviceps Merrem, 1820, Tent. Syst. Amph.: 177. Type species: Rana gibbosa Linnaeus, 1758, by monotypy.

Engystoma Fitzinger, 1826, Neue Class. Rept.: 39–40. Type species: Arguably either Rana gibbosa Linnaeus, by original designation, or Rana ovalis Schneider, 1799, by subsequent designation of Duméril and Bibron, 1841, Erp. Gén., 9: 740. Dubois, 1987, Alytes, 6: 75–84, interpreted Fitzinger's denotation of Rana gibbosa as "Repräsentant" as not constituting an original type designation and unsurprisingly decided that the subsequent designation by Duméril and Bibron rendered Engystoma an objective senior synonym of Elachistocleis Parker, 1927. He has submitted to the International Commission a petition to conserve Elachistocleis, although this interpretation is more than arguable in the opinion of DRF and for this reason Engystoma is retained in the synonymy of Breviceps. Synonymy with Breviceps by Stejneger, 1910, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 23: 165. Engystoma Duméril and Bibron, 1841, regarded as a synonym of Gastrophryne by Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 379, for undisclosed reasons. Dubois, Ohler, and Pyron, 2021, Megataxa, 5: 216, regarded Engystoma as a senior synonym of ElachistocleisSegalla, Berneck, Canedo, Caramaschi, Cruz, Garcia, Grant, Haddad, Lourenço, Mângia, Mott, Nascimento, Toledo, Werneck, and Langone, 2021, Herpetol. Brasil., 10: 124, discussed their reasoning for retaining Engystoma in the synonymy of Breviceps

Systoma Wagler, 1830, Nat. Syst. Amph.: 205. Type species: Breviceps gibbosus Merrem, 1820 (= Rana gibbosa Linnaeus, 1758), by monotypy. Objective synonym of Breviceps as based on the same type species.

English Names

Blaasops (Wager, 1965, Frogs S. Afr.: 117; Passmore and Carruthers, 1978, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 19: 4).

Rain Frogs (Wager, 1965, Frogs S. Afr.: 117; Broadley, 1971, Puku, 6: 111; Van Dijk, 1978, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 17: 15; Passmore and Carruthers, 1978, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 19: 4; Passmore and Carruthers, 1979, S. Afr. Frogs: 82; Channing and Howell, 2006, Amph. E. Afr.: 217).

Short-heads (Passmore and Carruthers, 1978, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 19: 4).

Short-headed Frogs (Van Dijk, 1978, J. Herpetol. Assoc. Afr., 17: 15; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 87).


Arid to semiarid East and southern Africa.


See short discussion of taxonomic characters by Poynton and Broadley, 1985, Ann. Natal Mus., 26: 516–517. Channing, 2001, Amph. Cent. S. Afr.: 209–229, and Du Preez and Carruthers, 2009, Compl. Guide Frogs S. Afr.: 102–133, provided keys and accounts for the species of southern Africa, and Channing and Howell, 2006, Amph. E. Afr.: 217–220, provided a key and accounts for East Africa. Nielsen, Daniels, Conradie, Heinicke, and Noonan, 2018, J. Biogeograph., 45: 2067–2079, reported on the molecular phylogenetics and biogeography of the species in the genus, recognizing two species groups: Breviceps mossambicus group (Breviceps adspersus, Breviceps bsgginsi, Breviceps carruthersi, Breviceps fichus, Breviceps mossambicus, Breviceps passsmorei, Breviceps pentheri, Breviceps poweri, and Breviceps sopranus) and Breviceps gibbosus group (Breviceps acutirostris, Breviceps branchii, Breviceps fuscus, Breviceps gibbosus, Breviceps macrops, Breviceps montanus, Breviceps namaquensis, Breviceps rosei, Breviceps sylvestris, and Breviceps verrucosus). Channing and Rödel, 2019, Field Guide Frogs & Other Amph. Afr.: 116–123, provided brief accounts, photographs, and range maps for the species. Bittencourt-Silva, Bayliss, and Conradie, 2020, Amph. Rept. Conserv., 14 (2: e247): 198–271, reported what they think is an unnamed species from Mount Socone, Ile District, Zambezia Province, northeast-central Mozambique. Heinicke, Beidoun, Nielsen, and Bauer, 2021, Herpetol. Notes, 14: 397–406, documented via molecular analysis several unnamed species in the Breviceps mossambicus group. 

Contained taxa (20 sp.):

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