Temporal range: Early Cretaceous-recent
Amplexus of ADF.jpg
African dwarf frog
Scientific classification e
Gray 1825
PIPIDAE range.png
Distribution of Pipidae in black

The Pipidae are a family of primitive, tongueless frogs. The 41 species in the family Pipidae are found in tropical South America (genus Pipa) and sub-Saharan Africa (the three other genera).


Pipid frogs are highly aquatic and have numerous morphological modifications befitting their habitat. For example, the feet are completely webbed, the body is flattened, and a lateral line system is present in adults.[1] In addition, pipids possess highly modified ears for producing and receiving sound under water. They lack a tongue or vocal cords, instead having bony rods in the larynx that help produce sound. They range from 4 to 19 cm (1.6 to 7.5 in) in body length.[2]

Extant genera

Family Pipidae Gray 1825[3]

  • Hymenochirus Boulenger 1896 - dwarf clawed frogs (4 species)
  • Pipa Laurenti 1768 - Surinam toads (7 species)
  • Pseudhymenochirus Chabanaud 1920 - Merlin's dwarf gray frog or Merlin's clawed frog (1 species)
  • Xenopus Wagler 1827 - clawed frogs (29 species)[4]
    • Subgenus (Silurana) Wagler 1827 - common clawed frogs
    • Subgenus (Xenopus) Gray 1864 - tropical clawed frogs

Fossil record

The fossil record for pipids and close relatives (Pipimorpha) is relatively good, with several extinct species known.[5] Six of these are placed in the extant genus Xenopus, the remainder in extinct genera. These fossils are known from Africa, South America, and the Middle East back to the Lower Cretaceous.[2][5]

Fossil Pipidae

South America
Pipidae is located in South America
Pipidae fossil locations in South America
Lightgreen pog.svg Late Cretaceous Los Alamitos
Brown pog.svg Danian Salamanca
Orange pog.svg Thanetian Huitrera
Red pog.svg Ypresian Itaboraí
Gold pog.svg Casamayoran Laguna del Hunco
Yellow pog.svg Mustersan Pozo
Yellow ffff00 pog.svg Middle Miocene Urumaco
Gold pog.svg New Pipidae species
Gold pog.svg Pipidae genera
Gold pog.svg Indeterminate Pipidae
bold is n. sp.
84Campaniancf. Xenopus sp.Los AlamitosNeuquénArgentina[6]
61.9Peligran?Pipidae indet.Hansen Mb, SalamancaGolfo San JorgeArgentina[7]
54.69RiochicanLlankibatrachus truebaeHuitreraNeuquénArgentina[8]
53ItaboraianXenopus romeriItaboraíItaboraíBrazil[9]
52.44CasamayoranShelania pascualiLaguna del HuncoCañadón AsfaltoArgentina[10]
45Mustersan?Pipidae indet.PozoUcayaliPeru[11]
11.8Mayoan-Huayqueriancf. Pipa sp.UrumacoFalcón BasinVenezuela[12]


  1. ^ "AmphibiaWeb: Pipidae". Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Retrieved 2009-10-25.
  2. ^ a b Zweifel, Richard G. (1998). Cogger, H.G.; Zweifel, R.G. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 86–87. ISBN 0-12-178560-2.
  3. ^ Pipidae at the Amphibian Species of the World 6.0 - AMNH
  4. ^ Evans et al., 2015
  5. ^ a b Gómez, 2016
  6. ^ Báez, 1987
  7. ^ Gelfo et al., 2007
  8. ^ Báez & Pugener, 2003
  9. ^ Estes & Wake, 1972
  10. ^ Báez & Trueb, 1997
  11. ^ Antoine et al., 2016
  12. ^ Head et al., 2006


External links

  • Data related to Pipidae at Wikispecies
  • Media related to Pipidae at Wikimedia Commons

Media files used on this page

South America laea relief location map.jpg
Author/Creator: Uwe Dedering, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Relief location map of SouthAmerica.
  • Projection: Lambert azimuthal equal-area projection.
  • Area of interest:
  • N: 25.0°
  • S: -60.0°
  • W: -90.0°
  • E: -30.0°
  • Projection center:
  • NS: -17.5°
  • WE: -60.0°
  • GMT projection: -JA-60/-17.5/20.0c
  • GMT region: -R-111.71735564517205/-55.20793284837989/-29.863824948966922/25.8980715779886r
  • GMT region for grdcut: -R-112.0/-63.0/-8.0/26.0r
  • Relief: SRTM30plus.
  • Made with Natural Earth. Free vector and raster map data @ naturalearthdata.com.
Lightgreen pog.svg
Shiny lightgreen button/marker widget. Used to mark the location of something such as a tourist attraction.
Orange pog.svg
Shiny orange button/marker widget.
Gold pog.svg
Shiny gold button/marker widget. Used to mark the location of something such as a tourist attraction.
Yellow pog.svg
Shiny yellow button/marker widget. Used to mark the location on a map.
Brown pog.svg
Author/Creator: , Licence: CC0
Shiny brown button/marker widget.
PIPIDAE range.png
Author/Creator: Froggydarb, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Pipidae distribution map.
Variegated golden frog (Mantella baroni) Ranomafana.jpg
Author/Creator: Charles J. Sharp , Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Variegated golden frog (Mantella baroni), Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar
Author/Creator: unknown, Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Yellow ffff00 pog.svg
Author/Creator: One Salient Oversight, Licence: CC0
Own work, based on Image:Blue_pog.svg