It's the Helmeted water toad!

i-7b9627efcda715cca6d3cf9919f1146b-Caudiverbera 17-10-2007.jpg

Here's a photo of one of my favourite anurans: the fantastic Helmeted water toad, or Gay's frog* Caudiverbera caudiverbera, a large, robust Chilean species (the only extant member of its genus) that is said to mostly feed on other anurans (though it also eats insects and other arthopods, fishes and even small birds and mammals)...

Females can reach an SVL (that's snout-to-vent-length) of 320 mm, which is huge. Its larvae reach a ridiculous size of about 150 mm and take about two years to metamorphose. Together with another obscure Chilean anuran (Telmatobufo), Caudiverbera has conventionally been included within the leptodactylids (a huge motley assortment of mostly South American anurans) but... well, I don't want to say any more as that would spoil the surprise and, besides, this was meant to be nothing more than a picture of the day submission, and already I've written too much. Lots more on obscure anurans and other lissamphibians to come soon. It's going to be timed to coincide with a very special event. Well, special-ish.

Much better photos of Caudiverbera are available elsewhere on the web, such as at Felipe E. Rabanal's Anfibios de Chile.

* Not 'Gray's frog' as it says in some books.

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Is the Wake et omnes paper on amphibian phylogeny coming out, or what?

(the only member of its genus)

The only extant one. There's a nice fossil record (for a frog), with species up to 35 cm in length.

By David Marjanovi? (not verified) on 17 Oct 2007 #permalink

Good call David. I could at least have mentioned C. parodii from the Miocene (well, I always preferred things when it was good old Giganthobatrachus).. and the Eocene and Oligocene species referred to the genus (C. canqueli and C. casamayorensis).

And let's avoid the horrible taxonomy of Caudiverbera... err, this is still the right name for it isn't it? Frost's ASW site has its current name as Calyptocephalella Strand, 1928, yet the Frost et al. AMNH tree of life paper goes with Caudiverbera Laurenti, 1768.


Read the comment on this page. That seems to explain it. I wonder if someone should appeal for conservation...

BTW, Gigantobatrachus never had an extra h.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 17 Oct 2007 #permalink


By Anthony Docimo (not verified) on 17 Oct 2007 #permalink

BTW, Gigantobatrachus never had an extra h.

I was sure it did, but on checking found that it didn't. My misremembering comes from Sanchiz (1998), who spelt it with the 'h' on p. 69, but without on p. 68. While you're here David, have you seen this: it's on the 2007 Syst. Biol. paper you did with Laurin.

Thank you for the birthday wishes Anthony - who are they for?

Wow! I had no idea! Thanks a lot for alerting me!

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

I just made the first three comments on Tonya's blog ever! Come on, people! Follow the link! :-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

hang on, a toad/frog that's 35 cm long? Is that snout-vent or with the legs extended?? If it was snout vent, with such a robust kind of frog, that would be huge!!! :O

By Tim Morris (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

It is snout-vent length. And it "would" not be, it is huge.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 18 Oct 2007 #permalink

Oops, wrong link. Instead of "systematicreviews" it should be "systematics-reviews".

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 21 Oct 2007 #permalink