Tukeit Hill Frog

Tukeit Hill Frog

name = Tukeit Hill Frog
status = LC | status_system = IUCN3.1
trend = down
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Amphibia
ordo = Anura
subordo = Neobatrachia
familia = Centrolenidae
familia_authority = Taylor, 1951
subfamilia = Allophryninae
familia_authority = Goin, Goin, & Zug, 1978
genus = "Allophryne"
genus_authority = Gaige, 1926
species = "A. ruthveni"
binomial = "Allophryne ruthveni"
binomial_authority = Gaige, 1926

range_map_caption = Distribution of "A. ruthveni" (in black)

The Tukeit Hill Frog ("Allophryne ruthveni") is the only described species in the genus "Allophryne" and the only member of the subfamily Allophryninae, a clade recently placed under the family Centrolenidae. These frogs live in Guyana, Venezuela, Surinam, Brazil and Bolivia. The holotype was discovered at Tukeit Hill, below Kaieteur Falls, Guyana, hence the common English name.

Physical description

The Tukeit Hill Frog is a small frog. It is of variable colouration, either black, with stripes and spots which can be golden or dull yellow, or a dull yellow or golden ventral surface, with black strips and spots. It has a flat body, and small flat head. It has a single, sub-mandibular vocal sac. The toe pads are enlarged, wider than the fingers, and the tympanum is visible. The Tukeit Hill Frog is superficially similar to the tree frogs, however the end of their phalanges differ in shape (see below Taxonomic classification).

Taxonomic classification

"Allophryne", the Tukeit Hill Frog, is part of a hitherto (see below) monotypic subfamily of anurans: Allophryninae. The evolutionary relationships of this species have always been controversial. It has been joint to families like Hylidae, Bufonidae, and Leptodactylidae, but until recently its closer relatives where unknown.

"Allophryne" is similar in its general shape to tree frogs of the family Hylidae, but "Allophryne" differs by having the last phalanges of fingers and toes T-shaped, a character found in Glassfrogs while Tree frogs have them claws-shaped. When the herpetologist G. K. Noble examined "Allophryne", he suggested that it was closely related to Glassfrogs, a hypothesis later confirmed by recent phylogenetic studies that have found that "Allophryne" is the sister taxon of the glassfrog clade Centroleninae (Austin "et al." 2002, Frost "et al." 2006).

The Glassfrogs differ from "Allophryne" by having much delicate skulls, having intercalary elements between the last phalanges of fingers, a process on the third metacarpal, and non-explosive breeding, among other characteristics. Both Glassfrogs and the Allophrynidae are closely related to Leptodactylidae.

Recently, an undescribed species of frog which probably belongs to the genus "Allophryne" was discovered in Peru [http://fm2.fieldmuseum.org/rbi/gallery_peru11/3.asp] . This suggests that the genus is actually more widespread and that more species await discovery. As "A. ruthveni" was assumed to be a northwest Amazonian endemic, the Peruvian frog indicates that the Allophrynidae might have been more widespread in prehistoric times, only later on disappearing from most of the Amazonas basin, and are actually a relic group. Alternatively, they might occur in the western Amazonas lowlands and simply have not been found yet, though this seems less likely.

Ecology and behaviour

The Tukeit Hill Frog is semi-arboreal, spending some times low in the trees, 1-3 metres, and some of the time on the ground. They are explosive breeders, taking advantage of small water ponds formed on the forest floor after periods of rain. This frog habits sparse forest, and may be restricted to forested areas, avoiding cleared land.


* Austin, J. D.; Lougheed, S. C.; Tanner, K; Chek, A. A.; Bogart, J. P. & Boag, P. T. (2002): A molecular perspective on the evolutionary affinities of an enigmatic neotropical frog, "Allophryne ruthveni". "Zool. J. Linn. Soc." 134(3): 335–346. [http://plaza.ufl.edu/austinj/Allophryne_2002.pdf PDF fulltext]

* Cannatella, David (1996): The Tree of Life Web Project: " [http://tolweb.org/Allophryne_ruthveni/16939 Allophryne ruthveni] ". Version of 01 January 1996; retrieved 2007-JAN-06.

* Cogger, H. G.; Zweifel, R. G. & Kirschner, D. (2004): "Encyclopedia of Reptiles & Amphibians" (2nd edition). Fog City Press. ISBN 1-877019-69-0

* Frost, Darrel R.; Grant, Taran; Faivovich, Julián; Bain, Raoul H.; Haas, Alexander; Haddad, Celio F. B.; De Sa, Rafael O.; Channing, A.; Wilkinson, Mark; Donnellan, Stephen C.; Raxworthy, Christopher J.; Campbell, Jonathan A.; Blotto, Boris L.; Moler, Paul; Drewes, Robert C.; Nussbaum, Ronald A.; Lynch, John D.; Green, David M. & Wheeler, Ward C. (2006): The Amphibian Tree of Life] . "Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History" 297: 1-370. [http://digitallibrary.amnh.org/dspace/bitstream/2246/5781/1/B297.pdf PDF fulltext]

* InfoNatura (2005): " [http://www.natureserve.org/infonatura/servlet/InfoNatura?searchName=Allophryne+ruthveni Allophryne ruthveni] " Version 4.1, 28 June 2005. Retrieved 2007-JAN-06.

* Database entry includes a range map and a brief justification of why this species is of least concern

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  • Tukeit Hill frog — noun The only recognised species in the Allophryne genus, found in South America …   Wiktionary