Petropedetidae Noble, 1931

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Petropedetidae
13 species

Petropedetinae Noble, 1931, Biol. Amph.: 520. Type genus: Petropedetes Reichenow, 1874. Given precedence over Hemimantidae Hoffmann, 1878, and placed on the Official List of Family-Group Names in Zoology, by Opinion 1921, Anonymous, 1999, Bull. Zool. Nomencl., 56: 96-100.

PetropedetidaeRödel and Branch, 2002, Salamandra, 38: 254; 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: 238.

English Names

Torrent Frogs (Channing and Rödel, 2019, Field Guide Frogs & Other Amph. Afr.: 316).


Sierra Leone through Ivory Coast and Nigeria through Cameroon to southern Gabon to an including borderlands with Rep. Congo, with an apparent gap at Togo; Bioko, (Equatorial Guinea); mountains of Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Kenya, possibly into adjacent Uganda.


Laurent, 1951, Rev. Zool. Bot. Afr., 45: 120, believed this group to be derived from Raninae. Dubois, 1992, Bull. Mens. Soc. Linn. Lyon, 61: 305–352, elevated the rank of this taxon to that of a family from subfamily rank under Ranidae; without discussion. Ford, 1993, Ethol. Ecol. Evol., 5: 219–231, suggested that this taxon (sensu lato, as including Phrynobatrachidae and Cacosterninae) might be paraphyletic or polyphyletic, with respect to some ranines, the Arthroleptidae, and the Dendrobatidae. See Largen, 1991, Tropical Zool., 4: 140, for comments on generic taxonomy of the "petropedetines". Vences, Vieites, Glaw, Brinkmann, Kosuch, Veith, and Meyer, 2003, Proc. R. Soc. London, Ser. B, Biol. Sci., 270: 2439, presented molecular evidence that at least some (e.g., Petropedetes) are imbedded within the traditional Raninae. van der Meijden, Vences, Hoegg, and Meyer, 2005, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 37: 674–685, provided evidence that a previously undetected monophyletic group existed, composed of Conrauini (of Dicroglossinae at the time), Petropedetinae, Phrynobatrachinae, Pyxicephalinae, and various members of Raninae (e.g., Strongylopus), which required the recasting of families. Dubois, 2005, Alytes, 23: 16, restricted Petropedetinae to Arthroleptides and Petropedetes, Conrauinae to Conraua, and considered Indirana to be in Ranixalinae. Scott, 2005, Cladistics, 21: 507–574, provided evidence to substantiate Dubois' assertions. 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, provided evidence for the monophyly of this group, redelimited Petropedetidae to include Petropedetes (including Arthroleptides), Conraua, and Indirana and provided a taxonomic history, although they did not address the contribution of Scott (2005). Bossuyt, Brown, Hillis, Cannatella, and Milinkovitch, 2006, Syst. Biol., 55: 579–594, provided evidence inconsistent with the placement of Indirana in this group (see below), but otherwise corroborated the monophyly of Petropedetidae sensu Frost et al. (2006), as did Wiens, Sukumaran, Pyron, and Brown, 2009, Evolution, 63: 1217–1231, although the latter retained these as the subfamilies Conrauinae and Petropedetinae within Ranidae (sensu lato, Natatanura of Frost et al., 2006). Van Bocxlaer, Roelants, Biju, Nagaraju, and Bossuyt, 2006, PLoS One, 1: 1–6, removed Indirana to Ranixalidae. See also Roelants, Gower, Wilkinson, Loader, Biju, Guillaume, Moriau, and Bossuyt, 2007, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 104: 887–892, for evidence bearing on the phylogenetic placement of this taxon. Wiens, Sukumaran, Pyron, and Brown, 2009, Evolution, 63: 1217–1231, suggested considerable phylogenetic structure within the group although their association of their Conrauinae with Petropedetinae and the placement of this inclusive group near Pyxicephalidae (their Pyxicephalinae) within Ranoides has no confidence numbers attached to it, suggesting that thes placements may not be well-supported. Bossuyt and Roelants, 2009, in Hedges and Kumar (eds.), Timetree of Life: 357–364, considered this taxon a distinct family based on its Mesozoic origin. Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543–583, in their study of Genbank sequences, suggested that Conraua is distantly related to Petropedetes and placed it in its own family, Conrauidae. Blackburn and Wake, 2011, In Zhang (ed.), Zootaxa, 3148: 39–55, discussed briefly the taxonomic history of the group and Conrauidae. Vitt and Caldwell, 2014, Herpetology, 4th Ed., provided a summary of life history, diagnosis, and taxonomy. Barej, Rödel, Loader, Menegon, Gonwouo, Penner, Gvoždík, Günther, Bell, Nagel, and Schmitz, 2014, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 71: 261–273, reported on the molecular phylogenetics of the group, noted several unnamed species, resurrected Arthroleptides and name a genus, Odontobatrachus for a clade of species removed from the family. Siu-Ting, Gower, Pisani, Kassahun, Gebresenbet, Menegon, Mengistu, Saber, de Sá, Wilkinson, and Loader, 2014, BMC Evol. Biol., 14(44): 1–26, provided evidence for the inclusion of Ericabatrachus within this family. 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. Channing and Rödel, 2019, Field Guide Frogs & Other Amph. Afr.: 318–321, provided brief accounts, photographs, and range maps for the species.   

Contained taxa (13 sp.):

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