Family Friday

Harlequin Toads (Atelopus)

Family: Bufonidae – True Toad family
Number of Species: 97
Location: Central and South America

The members of the genus Atelopus are commonly referred to as the Harlequin Toads or Stubfoot Toads. There are many members of the genus but the majority of them are endangered of becoming extinct. Many species in the genus haven’t been seen in decades. The main culprit of their status is Chytrid Fungus, a deadly fungal pathogen that affects amphibians. Also habitat lose, pollution, and invasive species are also not helping these toads. These toads are often brightly colored and beautiful so it would be shame if they went extinct.

Family Friday

Rhinatrematidae – American Tailed Caecilians

photo from Leandro J.C.L. Moraes, Alexandre P. de Almeida, Rafael de Fraga, Rommel R. Zamora, Renata M. Pirani, Ariane A.A. Silva, Vinícius T. de Carvalho, Marcelo Gordo, Fernanda P. Werneck.

Number of Genera: 2 – Epicrionops and Rhinatrema
Number of Species: 11

The family Rhinatrematidae is one of the most ancient families of caecilians. Members of the species still have ancient traits such as true tails and terminal positioned mouth. They are found in northern South America.

The members of the genus Epicrionops is known as the beaked caecilians while the members of the genus Rhinatrema is known as the two lined caecilians.

Family Friday

Sooglossidae – Seychelles Frogs

Gardiner’s Seychelles Frog  by Evan Pickett

Genera: 2 – Sechellophryne and Sooglossus
Number of Species: 4

The family Sooglossidae is a small family of frogs from the Seychelles Islands. They are closely related to the Purple Frogs (family Nasikabatrachidae) and some people have even added the Purple Frogs to this family. Both families are the only families in the suborder Neobatrachia that do inguinal amplexus, where the male grasps the female around the waist during breeding.

Most of the family has direct developing eggs except for the Seychelles Frog Sooglossus sechellensis, whose eggs hatch into tadpoles and then the male carries them on his back. The family is highly terrestrial and even lay their eggs on land. The frogs are generally very small,  with the Gardiner’s Seychelles Frog (Sechellophryne gardineri) reaching max lengths of under a half a inch.

Family Friday



Number of Genera: 4 – Dermophis, Geotrypetes, Gymnopis, and Schistometopum
Number of Species: 14

The family Dermaphiidae is found in Central America, South America, Africa. Members of the family have secondary annuli and annular scales. Like most caecilians, this family is mostly fossorial (live underground). Caecilians are an understudied order of animals because of their fossorial life style so not a lot of info is known about these guys.

The genera Dermophis is known as the Mexican Caecilians or the Neotropical Caecilians. They are found from Mexico down to Colombia.

The genera Geotrypetes is found in Western Africa and are called the Western African Caecilians. They occur in the tropics there.

The genera Gymnopis is known as the Wet Forest Caecilians. They are found in Mexico and Guatemala to Panama.

The genera Schistometopum is known as the Guinea Caecilians and are found in Kenya, Tanzania, and the islands in the Gulf of Guinea. These caecilians are viviparous.

Family Friday


Number of Genera: 1 – Telmatobius
Number of Species: 62

Telmatoibiidae is a new family of frogs from South America. They are found up high in the Andes Mountain Range. The family used to be part of the family Leptodactylidae before being moved to it’s own family in 2011. Many of the members of the family are semi aquatic and some are even fully aquatic such as the Lake Titicaca Water Frog. Many of the members of the family are threatened with extinction from Chytrid Fungus, habitat destruction, and invasive trouts.

Family Friday


Suborder: Neobatrachia
Number of Subfamilies: 2 – Eleutherodactylinae and Phyzelaphryninae
Number of Genera: 4 – Phyzelaphryne, Adelophryne, Eleutherodactylus, and Diasporus
Number of Species: 217

Eleutherodactylidae is a family of frogs from southern North America, Central America, and northern South America. They are a family of direct developing frogs, meaning they skip the tadpole stage outside the egg besides the Golden Coqui which give birth to live young.

Family Friday

Typhlonectidae – Aquatic Caecilians


Number of Genera: 5 – Atretochoana, Chthonerpeton, Nectocaecilia, Potamotyphlus, and Typhlonectes
Number of Species: 14

Typhlonectidae is an interesting family of Caecilians in that they are aquatic or semi aquatic. All members of the family give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. The family is found in South America.

Family Friday

Rhyacotritonidae – Torrent Salamanders

Photo by James Bettaso, U.S. Fish & Wildlife service

Number of Genera: 1 – Rhyacotriton
Number of Species: 4 – Cascade Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton cascadae), Columbia Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton kezeri), Olympic Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton olympicus), and Southern Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus)

There are only four species of salamanders in this small family. The Torrent Salamanders used to be part of the Mole Salamander family (Ambystomatidae), then moved to Pacific Giant Salamander family (Dicamptodontidae), and finally moved to it’s own family – Rhyacotritonidae .  The family is found in the Northwestern United States (California, Oregon, Washington). There was originally only one species of Torrent Salamanders but it was split into four distinct species. The Torrent Salamanders are found in cold streams, which is how they got their name.

Cascade Torrent Salamander, photo by William Flaxington

The Cascade Torrent Salamander is found in Northern Oregon and Southern Washington along the Western slopes of the Cascades. It is listed as Near Threatened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Columbia Spotted Torrent Salamander, photo by Will Flaxington

The Columbia Torrent Salamander is found along the coast of Southern Washington and Northern Oregon. It is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.

The Olympic Torrent Salamander is found in the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. It is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.

The Southern Torrent Salamander is found along the coast of Oregon and Northern California. It’s listed as Least Threatened by the IUCN.

Family Friday

Hynobiidae – Asiatic Salamanders

Number of Genera: 9 – Batrachuperus, Hynobius, Liua, Pachyhynobius, Paradactylodon, Pseudohynobius, Ranodon, Salamandrella, and Onychodactylus
Number of Species: 67
Hynobiidae is a family of salamanders referred to as the Asiatic Salamanders because they are found dun dun dun… in Asia. They are closely related to the Giant Salamander family – Cryptobranchidae. The family is broken into 2 subfamilies, Hynobiinae and Onychodactylinae. Onychodactylus is the only genus in the subfamily Onychodactylinae

Batrachuperus is known as the Stream or Mountain Salamanders. They are found in China and Myanmar.

The genus Liua is found in only China.

Shangcheng Stout Salamander (Pachyhynobius shangchengensis) is the only member of the genus Pachyhynobius.

The genus Paradactylodon is known as the Middle Eastern Salamanders because they are found in Iran and Afghanistan.

The genus Pseudohynobius is only found in China.

Semirechensk Salamander (Ranodon sibiricus) is the only species in the genus Ranodon. It is found in China and Kazakhstan

The genus Salamandrella is called the Siberan Salamanders.

Onychodactylus is known as the Clawed Salamanders.

Family Friday

Craugastoridae – Fleshbelly Frogs

Suborder: Neobatrachia
Number of Genera: 4*
Number of Species: 100~ or 800~*

Craigastoridae is a family of direct developing frogs from the southern United States all the way down to South America. Some sources combine the family Craugastoridae and Strabomantidae into one single family so exact number of genera and species depends on sources and who you ask. We need to better study the amphibians all over the world.