Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Published: 2020-12-15

Comparative analysis of the chondrocranium and hyobranchial skeleton of bromeliad arboreal frog larvae of the genus Phyllodytes Wagler, 1830 (Anura, Hylidae)

Universidade Federal da Bahia, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade e Evolução (PPGBioEvo-UFBA), Instituto de Biologia, Campus Universitário de Ondina, Rua Barão de Jeremoabo, s/n, Ondina, CEP 40170-115, Salvador, Bahia, Brasil.
Universidade Federal da Bahia, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade e Evolução (PPGBioEvo-UFBA), Instituto de Biologia, Campus Universitário de Ondina, Rua Barão de Jeremoabo, s/n, Ondina, CEP 40170-115, Salvador, Bahia, Brasil.
Universidade Federal da Bahia, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade e Evolução (PPGBioEvo-UFBA), Instituto de Biologia, Campus Universitário de Ondina, Rua Barão de Jeremoabo, s/n, Ondina, CEP 40170-115, Salvador, Bahia, Brasil.
Universidade Federal do Sul da Bahia, Campus Sosígenes Costas, Rodovia Porto Seguro–Eunápolis BR-367, km 10, CEP 45810-000, Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brasil.
Amphibia Bromeliad tree frogs Cranial morphology Lophyohylini Tadpole


The genus Phyllodytes comprises 15 species, ten of them having their tadpole external morphology described in the literature. However, there are few descriptive studies on chondrocranium and hyobranchial skeleton. In this work, we describe the chondrocranium and hyobranchial skeleton of Phyllodytes larvae and discuss shared features and interspecific variation. Our findings suggest that the skeletal morphology is mostly conserved in the genus, with common features including a single suprarostral cartilage, short infrarostral cartilages, and overall short trabecular horns. Main intrageneric variations include the arrangement of the ascending process, the presence of larval otic process, and the configuration of the crista parotica. These variations are not correlated with the phylogenetic structure of the genus. Some distinctive aspects of P. praeceptor and P. gyrinaethes are also described in tadpoles of Osteopilus ocellatus, and could be related to oophagous habits in these tadpoles.



  1. Ab’Saber, A.N. (1977) Domínios morfoclimáticos na América do Sul: primeira aproximação. São Paulo. Instituto de Geografia/USP. Geomorfologia, 52, 1–21.

    Bokermann, W.C.A. (1966) O gênero Phyllodytes Wagler, 1830 (Anura, Hylidae). Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciências, 38, 335–344.

    Blotto, B.L., Lyra, M.L., Cardoso, M.C., Trefaut Rodrigues, M., Dias, I.R., Marciano‐Jr, E., Dal Vechio, F., Orrico, V.G.D., Brandão, R.A., Lopes de Assis, C., Lantyer‐Silva, A.S.F., Rutherford, M.G., Gagliardi‐Urrutia, G., Solé, M.. Baldo, D., Nunes, I., Cajade, R., Torres, A., Grant, T., Jungfer, K.H., da Silva, H.R., Haddad, C.F.B. & Faivovich, F. (2020) The phylogeny of the Casque headed Treefrogs (Hylidae: Hylinae: Lophyohylini). Cladistics. [published online]

    Campos, T.F., De Lima, M.G., Do Nascimento, F.A.C. & Dos Santos, E.M. (2014) Larval morphology and advertisement call of Phyllodytes acuminatus Bokermann, 1966 (Anura: Hylidae) from Northeastern Brazil. Zootaxa, 3779 (1), 93–100.

    Caramaschi, U., da Silva, H.R. & de Britto-Pereira, M.C. (1992) A new species of Phyllodytes (Anura, Hylidae) from southern Bahia, Brazil. Copeia, 1992, 187–191.

    Caramaschi, U., Peixoto, O.L. & Rodrigues, M.T. (2004) Revalidation and redescription of Phyllodytes wuchereri (Peters, 1873)(Amphibia, Anura, Hylidae). Arquivos do Museu Nacional, 62, 185–191.

    Cruz, C.A.G., Feio, R.N. & Cardoso, M.C.D.S. (2006) Description of a new species of Phyllodytes Wagler, 1830 (Anura, Hylidae) from the Atlantic rain forest of the states of Minas Gerais and Bahia, Brazil. Arquivos do Museu Nacional, 64, 321–324.

    da Silva, H.R. (1994) Chondrocranium and cranial ossification in Aparasphenodon brunoi (Anura: Hylidae). Journal of Morphology, 220, 337.

    de Medeiros Magalhães, F., Juncá, F.A. & Garda, A.A. (2015) Tadpole and vocalisations of Phyllodytes wuchereri (Anura: Hylidae) from Bahia, Brazil. Salamandra, 51, 83–90.

    Dias, I.R., Novaes-e-Fagundes, G., Neto, A.M., Zina, J., Garcia, C., Recoder, R.S, Vechio, F.D., Rodrigues, M.T. & Solé, M. (2020) A new large canopy-dwelling species of Phyllodytes Wagler, 1930 (Anura, Hylidae) from the Atlantic Forest of the state of Bahia, Northeastern Brazil. PeerJ, 8, e8642.

    Fabrezi, M. & Vera, R. (1997) Caracterización morfológica de larvas de anuros del noroeste argentino. Cuadernos de Herpetología, 11, 37–49.

    Faivovich, J., Haddad, C.F., Garcia, P.C., Frost, D.R., Campbell, J.A. & Wheeler, W.C. (2005) Systematic review of the frog family Hylidae, with special reference to Hylinae: phylogenetic analysis and taxonomic revision. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 294, 1–240.[0001:SROTFF]2.0.CO;2

    Frost, D.R. (2020) Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0. Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York. Available from: (accessed 10 July 2020)

    Gosner, K.L. (1960) A simplified table for staging anuran embryos and larvae with notes on identification. Herpetologica, 16,183–190.

    Haas, A. (2003) Phylogeny of frogs as inferred from primarily larval characters (Amphibia: Anura). Cladistics, 19, 23–89.

    Lannoo, M.J., Townsend, D.S. & Wassersug, R.J. (1987) Larval life in the leaves: arboreal tadpole types, with special attention to the morphology, ecology and behavior of the oophagous Osteopilus brunneus (Hylidae) larva. Fieldiana Zoology, 38, 1–31.

    Larson, P.M. (2004) Chondrocranial morphology and ontogenetic allometry in larval Bufo americanus (Anura, Bufonidae). Zoomorphology, 123, 95–106.

    Larson, P.M. (2005) Ontogeny, phylogeny, and morphology in anuran larvae: morphometric analysis of cranial development and evolution in Rana tadpoles (Anura: Ranidae). Journal of Morphology, 264, 34–52.

    Larson, P.M. & De Sá, R.O. (1998) Chondrocranial morphology of Leptodactylus larvae (Leptodactylidae: Leptodactylinae): its utility in phylogenetic reconstruction. Journal of Morphology, 238, 287–305.;2-8

    Larson, P.M., De Sá, R.O. & Arrieta, D. (2003) Chondrocranial, hyobranchial and internal oral morphology in larvae of the basal bufonid genus Melanophryniscus (Amphibia: Anura). Acta Zoologica, 84 (2), 145–154.

    Maglia, A.M., Púgener, L.A. & Trueb, L. (2001) Comparative development of anurans: using phylogeny to understand ontogeny. American Zoologist, 41, 538–551.

    Marciano Jr, E., Lantyer-Silva, A.S.F. & Solé, M. (2017) A new species of Phyllodytes Wagler, 1830 (Anura, Hylidae) from the Atlantic Forest of southern Bahia, Brazil. Zootaxa, 4238 (1), 135–142.

    Oliveira, M.I.R.R. de, Weber, L.N., de Sá, R.O., Ferreira, J.S., Libório, A.E.C. & Takazone, A.M.G. (2017) Chondrocranium and internal oral morphology of the tadpole of Corythomantis greeningi (Anura: Hylidae). Phyllomedusa: Journal of Herpetology, 16, 71–80.

    Peixoto, O.L. (1977) Anfíbios anuros associados às bromeliáceas nos Estados do Rio de Janeiro e Espírito Santo. Dissertação, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro. p. 33.

    Peixoto, O.L., Caramaschi, U. & Freire, E.M.X. (2003) Two new species of Phyllodytes (Anura: Hylidae) from the state of Alagoas, northeastern Brazil. Herpetologica, 59, 235–246.[0235:TNSOPA]2.0.CO;2

    Prado, V.H.M. (2006) Similaridade ecológica em comunidades de girinos: O papel de componentes históricos (filogenéticos) e contemporâneos (ecológicos). Dissertação, Universidade Estadual Paulista, UNESP, São José do Rio Preto. Available from:

    Púgener, L.A., Maglia, A.M. & Trueb, L. (2003) Revisiting the contribution of larval characters to an analysis of phylogenetic relationships of basal anurans. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 139, 129–155.

    Roberto, I.J. & Avila, R.W. (2013) The advertisement call of Phyllodytes gyrinaethes Peixoto, Caramaschi & Freire, 2003 (Anura, Hylidae). Zootaxa, 3669 (2), 193–196.

    Santos, L.O., Costa, R.N., Solé, M. & Orrico, V.G.D. (2019) The tadpole of Phyllodytes praeceptor (Anura: Hylidae). Zootaxa, 4623 (1), 381–386.

    Taylor, W.R. & Van Dyke, G.C. (1985) Revised procedures for staining and clearing small fishes and other vertebrates for bone and cartilage study. Cybium, 9, 107–120.

    Vera Candioti, M.F. (2007) Anatomy of anuran tadpoles from lentic water bodies: systematic relevance and correlation with feeding habits. Zootaxa, 1600, 1–175.

    Vera Candioti, F., Haas, A., Altig, R. & Peixoto, O. (2017) Cranial anatomy of the amazing bromeliad tadpoles of Phyllodytes gyrinaethes (Hylidae: Lophyohylini), with comments about other gastromyzophorous larvae. Zoomorphology, 136, 61–73.

    Vieira, W.L., Santana, G.G., Santos, S.C.N.C., Alves, R.R. & Pereira-Filho, G.A. (2009) Description of the tadpoles of Phyllodytes brevirostris (Anura: Hylidae). Zootaxa, 2119, 66–68.

    Vörös, J., Dias, I.R. & Solé, M. (2017) A new species of Phyllodytes (Anura: Hylidae) from the Atlantic Rainforest of southern Bahia, Brazil. Zootaxa, 4337 (4), 584–594.