Cape rain frog (Breviceps gibbosus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Suborder: Neobatrachia
Family: Brevicipitidae
Bonaparte, 1850
Type genus
Merrem, 1820
Type species
Rana gibbosa
Linnaeus, 1758

See text.

Brevicipitidae or rain frogs is a small family of frogs, which as of November 2013 contains 34 species in 5 genera.[1][2] Formerly included as subfamily in Microhylidae (narrow-mouth frogs), phylogenetic research has indicated the brevicipitine frogs should be considered as a family with Hemisotidae (shovelnose frogs) as the most closely related sister taxon.[3][4][5]

Most adult brevicipitine frogs are not easily seen as they spend extended periods of time in soil or leaf litter. However, some species might be partly arboreal at times.[6] Many species show strong sexual size dimorphism, with females being much larger than males.[1]

At least the frogs in Breviceps and Probreviceps genera breed by direct development, in which small froglets emerge from eggs without intervening aquatic tadpole phase. It is likely that the same applies to the other genera, too. The frogs lay small clutches of 13–56 fairly large eggs (4–8 mm diameter not including the protective capsule) in cover, often in underground burrows. With some species either male or female stays with eggs or close to the egg chamber, though the details and extent of brood care is poorly understood within Brevicipitidae as a whole.[6]



  1. 1 2 AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. 2013. Berkeley, California: Brevicipitidae. AmphibiaWeb, available at (Accessed: 30 November 2013).
  2. Frost, Darrel R. (2013). "Brevicipitidae Bonaparte, 1850". Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 5.6 (9 January 2013). Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  3. Van Der Meijden, A.; Vences, M.; Hoegg, S.; Meyer, A. (2005). "A previously unrecognized radiation of ranid frogs in Southern Africa revealed by nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 37 (3): 674–685. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.05.001. PMID 15975829.
  4. Frost, D. R.; Grant, T.; Faivovich, J. N.; Bain, R. H.; Haas, A.; Haddad, C. L. F. B.; De Sá, R. O.; Channing, A.; Wilkinson, M.; Donnellan, S. C.; Raxworthy, C. J.; Campbell, J. A.; Blotto, B. L.; Moler, P.; Drewes, R. C.; Nussbaum, R. A.; Lynch, J. D.; Green, D. M.; Wheeler, W. C. (2006). "The Amphibian Tree of Life". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 297: 1–291. doi:10.1206/0003-0090(2006)297[0001:TATOL]2.0.CO;2. hdl:2246/5781.
  5. Pyron, A. R.; Wiens, J. J. (2011). "A large-scale phylogeny of Amphibia including over 2800 species, and a revised classification of extant frogs, salamanders, and caecilians". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 61 (2): 543–583. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.06.012. PMID 21723399.
  6. 1 2 Müller, H.; Loader, S. P.; Ngalason, W.; Howell, K. M.; Gower, D. J. (2007). "Reproduction in brevicipitid frogs (Amphibia: Anura: Brevicipitidae)—Evidence from Probreviceps m. macrodactylus". Copeia. 2007 (3): 726–733. doi:10.1643/0045-8511(2007)2007[726:RIBFAA]2.0.CO;2.
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