Definitions

Hylidae

Hylidae

Hylidae are a family of frogs with tree dwelling adaptations, and include several species commonly called "treefrogs and their allies". However, the hylids include a diversity of frog species, many of which do not live in trees, but are terrestrial or semi-aquatic.

Characteristics

Most hylids show adaptations suitable for an arboreal lifestyle, including forward-facing eyes providing binocular vision, and adhesive pads on the fingers and toes. In the non-arboreal species, these features may be greatly reduced, or absent. The Cyclorana species are burrowing frogs, that spend much of their lives underground.

Hylids mostly feed on insects and other invertebrates, but some larger species can feed on small vertebrates.

Hylids lay their eggs in a range of different locations, depending on species. Many use ponds, or puddles that collect in the holes of their trees, while others use bromeliads or other water-holding plants. Other species lay their eggs on the leaves of vegetation overhanging water, allowing the tadpoles to drop into the pond when they hatch.

A few species use fast-flowing streams, attaching the eggs firmly to the substrate. The tadpoles of these species have suckers enabling them to hold onto rocks after they hatch. Another unusual adaptation is found in some South American hylids, which brood the eggs on the back of the female, with Hemiphractus species going as far as to enclose the eggs in a pouch until they hatch. The tadpoles of most hylid species have laterally placed eyes, and broad tails with a narrow, filamentous, tip.

Type species

The European tree frog, Hyla arborea, is common in the middle and south of North America, and range into Asia and North Africa. The species become very noisy on the approach of rain and are sometimes kept in confinement as a kind of barometer.

In North America, there are many species of the Hylidae family, including Hyla versicolor (the grey tree frog) and Hyla cinerea (the American green tree frog). The spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) is also widespread in the eastern United States and is commonly heard on summer and spring evenings.

"Tree frog" is a popular name for several of the Hylidae. Hyla versicolor is the changeable tree frog, Trachycephalus lichenatus is the lichened tree frog, and Trachycephalus marmoratus the marbled tree frog. However, the name "treefrog" is not unique to this family, also being used for many species of the Rhacophoridae.

Taxonomy

The Hylidae family is divided into the following subfamilies and genera:Hylidae

References

  • This article incorporates text from the Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921).

External links

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