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Species Description

Cope's Gray Treefrog

Hyla chrysoscelis


Species Image

Classification

Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Hylidae

Description

Skin usually a shade of gray or green, with dark gray or black blotches on the back. Like many frogs, the Gray Treefrog may change color, depending on light levels, temperature, moisture, stress, or level of activity. There may be a light spot ringed with dark color under the eye. The inside of the thigh is yellow to bright orange. The back leg must be extended to see this characteristic. Moderate for a Treefrog, 3.2 - 5.1 cm (1 1/4 - 2 in) in length. The back is rough but not as "warty" as a toad. It has large toe pads.

Life Cycle

The Gray Treefrog starts breeding early and ends late in the year. Eggs are deposited as early as March, and breeding continues through August. Small clutches of up to 80 eggs are laid. Several egg masses may be laid during a breeding season. Eggs hatch in one to two weeks. Tadpoles transform one to two months after hatching.

Natural History

This is a nocturnal frog. It is difficult to find because its color camouflages it well against tree trunks. It spends most of its time in shrubs or trees or near water, and is rarely found on the ground.. An opportunistic feeder, it eats insects and other small invertebrates. It is found in a variety of habitats where there is shallow water and an abundance of vegetation, including roadside ditches, ponds, and forested wetlands with standing water.

Range

Cope's Gray Treefrog Region Map This is a common frog throughout Georgia.

Conservation Status

This frog is under no threat at present. Practices that clear water of vegetation or drain wetlands affect this species adversely.

Similar Species

There are two species of Gray Treefrog, H. chrysoscelis and H. versicolor. They appear identical, their ranges overlap, and both may be in Georgia. The only physical difference between the two is that H. versicolor has twice as many chromosomes (48) as H. chrysoscelis (24). H. chrysoscelis also has a faster frequency of calling, but this is difficult to determine without hearing both calls. The Bird-voiced Treefrog has yellow to green inner thighs. The Squirrel Treefrog resembles the green phase of the Gray Treefrog, but is smaller and does not have a thigh stripe or a light spot under the eye.