Evolution of pipoid frogs: intergeneric relationships of the aquatic frog family Pipidae (Anura)

Authors

  • DAVID C. CANNATELLA,

    1. Museum of Natural History, and Department of Systematics and Ecology, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 660452454, U.S.A.
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    • *Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, U.S.A.

  • LINDA TRUEB

    1. Museum of Natural History, and Department of Systematics and Ecology, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 660452454, U.S.A.
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Abstract

The 27 species of the aquatic frog family Pipidae are currently arranged in four genera:Xenopus (15 species), Hymenochirus (four species), and the poorly known genus Pseudhymenochirus (one species) occur in Africa; Pipa (seven species) is found in South America and lower Central America. Despite extensive work on the biology of Xenopus from various disciplines, the evolutionary relationships of Xenopus to other pipids have not been resolved. Phylogenetic analyis of morphological features of pipid frogs indicates that, contrary to earlier opinions, Hymenochirus and Pipa are closest relatives (sister-groups); these genera are placed in the subfamily Pipinae. Also, the currently recognized species of Xenopus do not form a natural group; the species tropicalis and epitropicalis are more closely related to Hymenochirus + Pipa than to the remaining species of Xenopus. The two discordant species are transferred to the genus Silurana, which is relegated to the new subfamily Siluraninae; it is the sister-group of the Pipinae. The remaining species of Xenopus constitute a monophyletic group that is placed in the subfamily Xenopodinae as the sister-group of the other genera of pipids.

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