|Phytotriades auratus. JCM|
Jowers et al. (2009) erected the genus Phytotriades for Amphodus auratus Boulenger on the basis of two golden longitudinal stripes on its dorsum, lack of vocalization and molecular data (partial sequences of mitochondrial 12S and 16S rDNA). They recovered auratus as the sister to Argenteohyla siemersi, a bromeliad dwelling species from lowland eastern Argentina. Recently Pyron and Wiens (in press, 2011) present data that auratus is the sister to Itapotihyla langsdorffii, an arboreal, lowland species from southeast Brazil, northesatern Argenitina, and Paraguay. Their data suggests that P. auratus and I. landsdorffii form a clade and are the sister to a suite of arboreal treefrogs including Argenteohyla already mentioned; the South American Aparasphenodon, Corythomantis, Nyctimantis, Osteocephalus, Trachycephalus, Tepuihyla; and the Caribbean Osteopilus. Many of these frogs are called "casqheaded treefrogs" because the skin over the skull is ossified a trait often associated with habitats that have an extended dry period during the year and frogs that dwell in holes, has also been shown to be assocaited with defense (Jared et al. 2005). Phyllodytes luteolus is the type species for the genus and it also turns up in this clade, but as the sister to Osteopilus. Thus, Pyron and Weins (and Weins et al. 2010) have supported Jower's assertion that Phyllodytes was polyphletic and that auratus needed to be placed in its own genus, the remining question - are there other frogs that are also members of the genus Phytotriades?Until they are discovered the genus remains a Trinidad endemic.
Jared, C. et al. 2005. Head co-ossification, phragmosis and defense in the casque-headed tree frog Corythomantis greebingi. Journal of Zoology 265:1-8.
Jowers, M. J., J. R. Downie, and B. L. Cohen . 2009. The Golden Tree Frog of Trinidad, Phyllodytes auratus (Anura: Hylidae): systematic and conservation status. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment. 43:181-188.
Pyron R. A. and J. J. Wiens 2011. (in press) A large-scale phylogeny of Amphibia including over 2800 species, and a revised classification of extant frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2011.06.012.
Wiens, J. J., C. A. Kuczynski, X. Hua, and D. S. Moen . 2010. An expanded phylogeny of treefrogs (Hylidae) based on nuclear and mitochondrial sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 55: 871-882.