Reconstruction of Odonterpeton triangulare by Smokeybjb.

Belongs within: Batrachosauria.
Contains: Nectridea, Albanerpetontidae, Gymnophiona, Anura, Caudata.

The Lepospondyli are a clade of amphibian-grade tetrapods known from the Lower Carboniferous to the Upper Permian though the living amphibians may also be nested here. The basal members of the clade were the lizard- or salamander-like microsaurs, all small animals with relatively short legs. The 'microsaurs' were paraphyletic to more derived subgroups such as the Nectridea or Lysorophia. The Lysorophia were small, serpentine animals with an extremely elongate trunk and reduced, poorly ossified limbs and girdles (Ruta et al. 2003).

The earliest clear relatives of the modern amphibians are known from the Early Triassic. Chinlestegophis jenkinsi, a probably burrowing amphibian from the Upper Triassic of Colorado, is a potential relative of caecilians, sharing with them a wide cultriform process on the skull, laterally placed eyes and double tooth rows on the mandible. The Early Jurassic Eocaecilia micropoda was even more caecilian-like as indicated by features like the loss of the tympanic ear and presence of the pseudodentary (Pardo, Small & Huttenlocker 2017). The salamanders and frogs are united in a clade Batrachia, exclusive of the caecilians, by a number of shared features such as loss of the postfrontal, surangular and splenial bones and loss of dermal scales (Frost et al. 2006). Triadobatrachus massinoti, from the early Triassic of Madagascar, was similar to a modern frog in overall appearance but retained a higher number of vertebrae, including a short tail, and was not adapted for jumping.

Lepospondyli [Hapsidopareiontidae, Holospondyli, Microbrachomorpha, Microsauria, Tuditanomorpha]
    |  i. s.: Trachystegos megalodon Carroll 1966 M93
    |--+--Trihecaton [Trihecatontidae] DS20
    |  |    `--T. howardinus Vaughn 1972 M93
    |  `--+--Nectridea DS20
    |     `--+--Microbrachidae M93
    |        |    |--Paramicrobrachis fritschi Kuhn 1959 M93
    |        |    `--Microbrachis Fritsch 1876 DS20, D07
    |        |         |--M. obtusatum D07
    |        |         `--M. pelikani Fritsch 1876 RCQ03
    |        `--Hyloplesion [Hyloplesiontidae] DS20
    |             `--H. longicostatum Fritsch 1876 RCQ03
    `--+--+--Pantylidae RCQ03
       |  |    |--Pantylus cordatus Cope 1871 DS20, RCQ03
       |  |    `--Stegotretus agyrus Berman, Eberth & Brinkman 1988 AR08, RCQ03
       |  `--Tuditanidae RCQ03
       |       |  i. s.: Boii crassidens (Fritsch 1876) M93
       |       |--Asaphestera intermedia (Dawson 1894) DS20, RCQ03
       |       `--+--Crinodon DS20
       |          `--Tuditanus punctulatus Cope 1874 DS20, RCQ03
       `--+--Saxonerpeton geinitzi (Credner 1890) AR08, RCQ03
          `--+--+--+--Rhynchonkos [Goniorhynchidae, Rhynchonkidae] DS20
             |  |  |    `--R. stovalli (Olson 1970) RCQ03
             |  |  `--+--Dvellecanus carrolli PS17
             |  |     `--Aletrimyti gaskillae PS17
             |  `--+--+--Huskerpeton englehorni PS17
             |     |  `--Gymnarthridae PS17
             |     |       |--Hylerpeton dawsoni T85
             |     |       |--Leiocephalikon problematicum C00, T85
             |     |       |--Elfridia Thayer 1985 T85
             |     |       |    `--*E. bulbidens Thayer 1985 T85
             |     |       |--Euryodus DS20
             |     |       |    |--E. dalyae AR08
             |     |       |    `--E. primus Olson 1939 RCQ03
             |     |       `--Cardiocephalus DS20
             |     |            |--C. dalyae C00
             |     |            |--C. peabodyi AR08
             |     |            `--C. sternbergi Broili 1904 RCQ03
             |     `--+--Nannaroter mckinzei PS17
             |        `--Ostodolepidae PS17
             |             |--Micraroter erythrogeios Daly 1973 DS20, RCQ03
             |             |--Pelodosotis elongatum Carroll & Gaskill 1978 DS20, RCQ03
             |             `--Ostodolepis brevispinatus Williston 1913 M93
             `--+--+--Odonterpeton [Odonterpetontidae] DS20
                |  |    `--O. triangulare Moodie 1909 RCQ03
                |  `--Sparodus Fritsch 1876 DS20, RCQ03
                |       `--S. validens RCQ03
                `--+--+--Hapsidopareion lepton Daly 1973 DS20, RCQ03
                   |  `--Llistrofus Carroll & Gaskill 1978 DS20, RCQ03
                   |       `--L. pricei Carroll & Gaskill 1978 M93
                   `--+--Brachystelechidae PS17
                      |    |--Batropetes fritschia (Geinitz & Deichmüller 1882) DS20, RCQ03
                      |    `--+--Carrolla Langston & Olson 1986 RCQ03
                      |       |    `--C. craddocki RCQ03
                      |       `--Quasicaecilia Carroll 1990 RCQ03
                      |            `--Q. texana Carroll 1990 M93
                      `--+--Lysorophia RCQ03
                         |    |--Molgophidae G88
                         |    |    |--Molgophis G88
                         |    |    `--Megamolgophis G88
                         |    `--Cocytinidae [Lysorophidae] AR08
                         |         |--Cocytinus G88
                         |         |--Lysorophus tricarinatus C07
                         |         |--Pleuroptyx clavatus C00
                         |         `--Brachydectes DS20
                         |              |--B. elongatus Wellstead 1991 RCQ03
                         |              `--B. newberryi Cope 1868 RCQ03
                         `--+--Albanerpetontidae DS20
                            `--+--+--Rileymillerus cosgriffi PSH17
                               |  `--+--Chinlestegophis Pardo, Small & Huttenlocker 2017 PSH17
                               |     |    `--*C. jenkinsi Pardo, Small & Huttenlocker 2017 PSH17
                               |     `--Parabatrachia [Apoda] FG06
                               |          |--Eocaecilia micropodia Jenkins & Walsh 1993 PS17, RCQ03
                               |          `--Gymnophiona DS20
                               `--Batrachia FB17
                                    |--Salientia RCQ03
                                    |    |  i. s.: Czatkobatrachus polonicus RR00
                                    |    |--Anura PSH17
                                    |    |--Prosalirus [Prosaliridae] C01
                                    |    |    `--P. bitis Shubin & Jenkins 1995 R00
                                    |    `--Triadobatrachus Kuhn 1962 AR08, RR00 (see below for synonymy)
                                    |         `--T. massinoti (Piveteau 1936) RCQ03
                                    |--Pangerpeton DS20
                                    |--Caudata DS20
                                    `--+--Belyanerpeton DS20
                                       `--Karauridae M00
                                            |--Karaurus sharovi Ivakhnenko 1978 DS20, RCQ03
                                            `--Kokartus honorarius M00

Triadobatrachus Kuhn 1962 AR08, RR00 [=Protobatrachus Piveteau 1936 (preoc.) RR00; Proanura, Triadobatrachidae]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[AR08] Anderson, J. S., R. R. Reisz, D. Scott, N. B. Fröbisch & S. S. Sumida. 2008. A stem batrachian from the Early Permian of Texas and the origin of frogs and salamanders. Nature 453: 515–518.

[C00] Carroll, R. L. 2000. Lepospondyls. In: Heatwole, H., & R. L. Carroll (eds) Amphibian Biology vol. 4. Palaeontology. The evolutionary history of amphibians pp. 1198–1269. Surrey Beatty & Sons.

[C01] Carroll, R. 2001. Chinese salamanders tell tales. Nature 410: 534–536.

[C07] Case, E. C. 1907. Revision of the Pelycosauria of North America. Carnegie Institute of Washington Publication 55: 1–176, 35 pls.

[DS20] Daza, J. D., E. L. Stanley, A. Bolet, A. M. Bauer, J. S. Arias, A. Čerňanský, J. J. Bevitt, P. Wagner & S. E. Evans. 2020. Enigmatic amphibians in mid-Cretaceous amber were chameleon-like ballistic feeders. Science 370: 687–691.

[D07] Dixon, D. 2007. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures. Hermes House: London.

[FB17] Feng, Y.-J., D. C. Blackburn, D. Liang, D. M. Hillis, D. B. Wake, D. C. Cannatella & P. Zhang. 2017. Phylogenomics reveals rapid, simultaneous diversification of three major clades of Gondwanan frogs at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 114 (29): E5864–E5870.

[FG06] Frost, D. R., T. Grant, J. Faivovich, R. H. Bain, A. Haas, C. F. B. Haddad, R. O. de Sá, A. Channing, M. Wilkinson, S. C. Donnellan, C. J. Raxworthy, J. A. Campbell, B. L. Blotto, P. Moler, R. C. Drewes, R. A. Nussbaum, J. D. Lynch, D. M. Green & W. C. Wheeler. 2006. The amphibian tree of life. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 297: 1–370.

[G88] Gray, J. 1988. Evolution of the freshwater ecosystem: the fossil record. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 62: 1–214.

[M93] Milner, A. R. 1993. Amphibian-grade Tetrapoda. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 665–679. Chapman & Hall: London.

[M00] Milner, A. R. 2000. Mesozoic and Tertiary Caudata and Albanerpetontidae. In: Heatwole, H., & R. L. Carroll (eds) Amphibian Biology vol. 4. Palaeontology. The evolutionary history of amphibians pp. 1412–1444. Surrey Beatty & Sons.

[PSH7] Pardo, J. D., B. J. Small & A. K. Huttenlocker. 2017. Stem caecilian from the Triassic of Colorado sheds light on the origins of Lissamphibia. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 114 (27): E5389–E5395.

[PS17] Pardo, J. D., M. Szostakiwskyj, P. E. Ahlberg & J. S. Anderson. 2017. Hidden morphological diversity among early tetrapods. Nature 546: 642–645.

[R00] Roček, Z. 2000. Mesozoic anurans. In: Heatwole, H., & R. L. Carroll (eds) Amphibian Biology vol. 4. Palaeontology. The evolutionary history of amphibians pp. 1295–1331. Surrey Beatty & Sons.

[RR00] Roček, Z., & J-C. Rage. 2000. Proanuran stages (Triadobatrachus, Czatkobatrachus). In: Heatwole, H., & R. L. Carroll (eds) Amphibian Biology vol. 4. Palaeontology. The evolutionary history of amphibians pp. 1283–1294. Surrey Beatty & Sons.

[RCQ03] Ruta, M., M. I. Coates & D. L. J. Quicke. 2003. Early tetrapod relationships revisited. Biological Reviews 78: 251–345.

[T85] Thayer, D. W. 1985. New Pennsylvanian lepospondyl amphibians from the Swisshelm Mountains, Arizona. Journal of Paleontology 59 (3): 684–700.

Last updated: 9 February 2022.

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