The Discoglossidae, five species in two genera, are small to medium-sized frogs (30 - 70 mm) of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
They retain many primitive characteristics including an arciferal pectoral girdle, Type 3 aquatic larvae, and opisthocoelous vertebrae. Mating occurs in the water in Discoglossus, but on land in Alytes. Amplexus is inguinal. After egg deposition in Alytes, the male maneuvers the fertilized eggs onto his back and thighs and carries them around for several days. When the eggs are ready to hatch, the male re-enters the water. The aquatic larvae feed and continue their development in ponds.
Discoglossids are thought to be closely related to the Bombinatoridae and, to a lesser extent the Leipelmatidae. Until recently, discoglossids and bombinatorids were placed in the same family.
The fossil record is relatively good for discoglossids with eight extinct genera and eleven species known. These fossils extend back to the Upper Jurassic and are known from Europe and North America. Some of these are often placed in the Bombinatoridae.
Little is known about the conservation status of discoglossids, but amphibians in general are thought to be sensitive to changes in their environment (see AmphibiaWeb's declining amphibians page).
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