Rheobatrachus Liem, 1973

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Superfamily: Myobatrachoidea > Family: Myobatrachidae > Genus: Rheobatrachus
2 species

Rheobatrachus Liem, 1973, Mem. Queensland Mus., 16: 467. Type species: Rheobatrachus silus Liem, 1973, by original designation.

English Names

Gastric Brooding Frogs (Ananjeva, Borkin, Darevsky, and Orlov, 1988, Dict. Amph. Rept. Five Languages: 105; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 95).


Queensland, Australia.


The status of this taxon is controversial. Placed in a distinct subfamily of Myobatrachidae (sensu lato), Rheobatrachinae, by Heyer and Liem, 1976, Smithson. Contrib. Zool., 233: 14, and in a separate family, Rheobatrachidae, by Laurent, 1980 "1979", Bull. Soc. Zool. France, 104: 401; a reanalysis by Farris, Kluge, and Mickevich, 1982, Syst. Zool., 31: 317-327, placed Rheobatrachus as the sister-taxon of Limnodynastinae and not of the entire Myobatrachidae as posited by Heyer and Liem. Daugherty and Maxson, 1982, Herpetologica, 38; and Burton, 2001, Aust. J. Zool., 49: 539, both considered Rheobatrachinae synonymous with the Limnodynastinae. Hutchinson and Maxson, 1987, Amphibia-Reptilia, 8: 1-11, could not resolve the relationships of Rheobatrachus with any other myobatrachid or limnodynastid group on the basis of immunological evidence. Ford and Cannatella, 1993, Herpetol. Monogr., 7: 94-118, discussed the possibility of Rheobatrachus being the sister taxon of Myobatrachidae (sensu stricto). Read, Keogh, Scott, Roberts, and Doughty, 2001, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 21: 294-308, did not address this taxon in their phylogenetic study of the Myobatrachinae, presumably suggesting that they regarded Rheobatrachus as being outside of this group. Davies, 2003, in Duellman (ed.), Grzimek's Animal Life Enclop., 6(Amph.): 153, regarded Rheobatrachus as being in the Myobatrachidae (sensu stricto). See Barker, Grigg, and Tyler, 1995, Field Guide Aust. Frogs., Ed. 2, for keys and accounts. Frost, Grant, Faivovich, Bain, Haas, Haddad, de Sá, Channing, Wilkinson, Donnellan, Raxworthy, Campbell, Blotto, Moler, Drewes, Nussbaum, Lynch, Green, and Wheeler, 2006, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 297, considered, on the basis of molecular evidence, that Rheobatrachus is the sister taxon of Mixophyes, and in Myobatrachidae. Bossuyt and Roelants, 2009, in Hedges and Kumar (eds.), Timetree of Life: 357-364, on the basis of divergence time, posited as mid-Cretaceous, estimated from a study of phylogeny reflecting narrower taxon sampling than Frost et al. (2006), regarded Rheobatrachidae as a coordinate family with Limnodynastidae and Myobatrachidae, and included Mixophyes in Limnodynastidae. Pyron and Wiens, 2011, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 61: 543-583, in their study of Genbank sequences, confirmed the placement of this taxon as the sister taxon of remaining myobatrachids.

Contained taxa (2 sp.):

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