The existence of the visible "tail" appendage makes this frog family distinct from all other frogs. Thus its wider classification is difficult. It is usually classified in the Archaeobatrachia suborder of ancient frogs, though some say it should be a sister to all other frogs.
As well as the ancient tail, these frogs have a number of vertebrae higher than that normal to frogs, non-vocalisation and ribs. They are small to and are found in steeply-flowing streams in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington in the northwest United States and southeastern British Columbia.
Adults forage primarily terrestrially along stream banks but also occasionally feed underwater. A wide variety of food items taken, including both aquatic and terrestrial larval and adult insects, other arthropods (especially spiders), and snails. Tadpoles consume small quantities of filamentous green algae and desmids. Large quantities of conifer pollen are consumed seasonally by tadpoles.
During the day, adults seek cover under submerged substrates in the stream, or occasionally under similar surface objects close to the stream. Individuals have also been found in crevices in spray-drenched cliff walls near waterfalls. During winter individuals are less active, especially inland, and appear to retreat beneath large logs and boulders. Tadpoles require cool streams with smooth-surfaced stones with a minimum diameter of . Tadpoles probably spend most of their time attached to such substrates by a large oral sucker. They prefer turbulent water to ones in smooth, swiftly flowing water.
Divergent patterns of abundance and age-class structure of headwater stream tadpoles in burned and unburned watersheds.
Oct 01, 2006; Abstract: Wildfire is a potential threat to many species with narrow environmental tolerances like the Rocky Mountain tailed frog...