Pelobatidae Bonaparte, 1850

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Pelobatidae
6 species

English Names

Spadefoots (Cochran, 1961, Living Amph. World: 56).

Spadefoot Toads (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 96).

Palearctic Spadefoots (Vitt and Caldwell, 2014, Herpetology, 4th Ed.: 478). 


Europe, western Asia, and northwestern Africa.


Most workers before Griffiths, 1960, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Ser. 13, 2: 626–640, and Griffiths, 1963, Biol. Rev. Cambridge Philos. Soc., 38: 273, considered Sooglossidae to be included in Pelobatidae (in the sense of also including Megophryidae and Scaphiopodidae of this list). Roček, 1981 "1980", Acta Univ. Carol., Prague, Biol., 1980: 140–156, discussed the relationships between the living and fossil taxa and suggested the independent evolution of the Pelobates group and the Scaphiopus group, which he treated as separate families, Pelobatidae and Scaphiopodidae. Nevertheless, most workers persisted in regarding Scaphiopodidae to be part of Pelobatidae prior to the study of García-París, Buchholz, and Parra-Olea, 2003, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 28: 12–23, who suggested a relationship of Scaphiopodidae + (Pelodytidae + (Pelobatidae + Megophryidae)), this confirmed by Zhang, Liang, Hillis, Wake, and Cannatella, 2013, Mol. Biol. Evol., 30: 1899–1915, on the basis of analysis of complete mtDNA genomes. See Sage, Prager, and Wake, 1982, J. Zool., London, 198: 481–494, for immunological evidence. Dubois, 1983, Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Lyon, 52: 271–272; Dubois, 1987 "1986", Alytes, 5: 13; and Dubois, 2005, Alytes, 23: 8, arranged Pelobatidae into four subfamilies (Pelobatinae [for Pelobates], Scaphiopodinae [Scaphiopodidae of this list], Megophryinae [now part of Megophryidae], and Leptobrachiinae [now part of Megophryidae]), but subsequently accepted the four-family arrangement (see Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 257). See Ford and Cannatella, 1993, Herpetol. Monogr., 7: 94–117, for separation of Pelobatidae (sensu lato) from Megophryidae. Maglia, 1998, Sci. Pap. Nat. Hist. Mus. Univ. Kansas, 10: 1–19, suggested a relationship of (((Pelobatidae) (Pelodytidae)) Megophryidae), but constrained the monophyly of her ingroup so monophyly of the overall group was an assumption, not a result. Xie and Wang, 2000, Cultum Herpetol. Sinica, 8: 356–370, considered Megophryidae to be a subfamily of Pelobatidae and discussed the history of taxonomy of the group.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, suggested on the basis of morphology and molecular data that Pelobatidae is the sister taxon of Megophryidae. Veith, Fromhage, Kosuch, and Vences, 2006, Contrib. Zool., Amsterdam, 75: 109–120, reported on phylogenetics of the group. Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543–583, confirmed the placement of Pelobatidae as the sister taxon of Megophryidae. Blackburn and Wake, 2011, In Zhang (ed.), Zootaxa, 3148: 39–55, briefly reviewed the taxonomic history of this taxon. Vitt and Caldwell, 2014, Herpetology, 4th Ed., provided a summary of life history, diagnosis, and taxonomy. Elias-Costa, Araujo-Vieira, and Faivovich, 2021, Cladistics, 37: 498–517, discussed the evolution of submandibular musculature optimized on the tree of Jetz and Pyron, 2018, Nature Ecol. & Evol., 2: 850–858, which provided morphological synapomorphies of this taxon. 

Contained taxa (6 sp.):

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