Cophylines are characterized by a derived mode of larval development: whereas most microhylids have a specialized filter-feeding tadpole, cophylines have non-feeding tadpoles that develop either in tree holes, terrestrial foam nests, or terrestrial jelly nests. Most cophylines have very simple advertisement calls, consisting of single melodious notes that are repeated after regular intervals and for long periods of time, usually lasting several minutes. Correlated to the reproductive mode of the various cophyline lineages is their arboreal versus terrestrial or fossorial ecology, and apparently, multiple evolutionary shifts between arboreal and terrestrial habits have occurred in this subfamily.
As of early 2014, the following genera are recognized:
Anodonthyla (11 species) Cophyla (3 species) Madecassophryne (Monotypic) Platypelis (13 species) Plethodontohyla (16 species) Rhombophryne (12 species) Stumpffia (16 species)