Hylidae is a large family of American, Australopapuan, and temperate Eurasian treefrogs of approximately 870 known species, divided among four subfamilies. Although some groups of Hylidae have been addressed phylogenetically, a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis has never been presented.
The first goal of this paper is to review the current state of hylid systematics. We focus on the very large subfamily Hylinae (590 species), evaluate the monophyly of named taxa, and examine the evidential basis of the existing taxonomy. The second objective is to perform a phylogenetic analysis using mostly DNA sequence data in order to (1) test the monophyly of the Hylidae; (2) determine its constituent taxa, with special attention to the genera and species groups which form the subfamily Hylinae, and c) propose a new, monophyletic taxonomy consistent with the hypothesized relationships.
We present a phylogenetic analysis of hylid frogs based on 276 terminals, including 228 hylids and 48 outgroup taxa. Included are exemplars of all but 1 of the 41 genera of Hylidae (of all four nominal subfamilies) and 39 of the 41 currently recognized species groups of the species-rich genus Hyla. The included taxa allowed us to test the monophyly of 24 of the 35 nonmonotypic genera and 25 species groups of Hyla. The phylogenetic analysis includes approximately 5100 base pairs from four mitochondrial (12S, tRNA valine, 16S, and cytochrome b) and five nuclear genes (rhodopsin, tyrosinase, RAG-1, seventh in absentia, and 28S), and a small data set from foot musculature.
Concurring with previous studies, the present analysis indicates that Hemiphractinae are not related to the other three hylid subfamilies. It is therefore removed from the family and tentatively considered a subfamily of the paraphyletic Leptodactylidae. Hylidae is now restricted to Hylinae, Pelodryadinae, and Phyllomedusinae. Our results support a sister-group relationship between Pelodryadinae and Phyllomedusinae, which together form the sister taxon of Hylinae. Agalychnis, Phyllomedusa, Litoria, Hyla, Osteocephalus, Phrynohyas, Ptychohyla, Scinax, Smilisca, and Trachycephalus are not monophyletic. Within Hyla, the H. albomarginata, H. albopunctata, H. arborea, H. boans, H. cinerea, H. eximia, H. geographica, H. granosa, H. microcephala, H. miotympanum, H. tuberculosa, and H. versicolor groups are also demonstrably nonmonophyletic. Hylinae is composed of four major clades. The first of these includes the Andean stream-breeding Hyla, Aplastodiscus, all Gladiator Frogs, and a Tepuian clade. The second clade is composed of the 30-chromosome Hyla, Lysapsus, Pseudis, Scarthyla, Scinax (including the H. uruguaya group), Sphaenorhynchus, and