Thursday, May 3, 2012

It’s That Time Of Year Again: Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)

He turns up every year at about this time. Perched above a window by the patio. He arrives a couple of weeks before the breeding season. Then, about now, the breeding season starts. It’s not unusual to find him, and his friends, at various locations around…

Water container garden on the patio. Just revving up for the evening. Then…

at full throttle. Luckily you can’t hear him. He’s a raucous little fellow; you can hear his call here. (In this, and the preceding photo, you can just see the bright yellow color on the inside of the hind leg that is a diagnostic characteristic for identifying Hyla chrysoscelis).

Sometimes he calls from above the window too.

They breed roughly from May to July. It’s not unusual to find 1 to 2 dozen on the patio at the height of the breeding season. A loud chorus e-v-e-r-y night. Even more so, and louder, after it rains. They like shallow water. We like to joke that they’d be happy with a saucer of water. After the breeding season, you’re lucky to even see them again until the next breeding season. I was lucky enough to find one in September…

in his normal pose on a leaf stem but also...

spread-eagle on a leaf.

There are two gray treefrogs in the United States, the Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) and Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). Hyla chrysoscelis is distributed more widely in the eastern United States than is Hyla versicolor; Hyla versicolor is not found in Georgia. An interesting piece of trivia about these frogs is the fact that Hyla versicolor has twice the number of chromosomes than does Hyla chrysoscelis.

Hyla chrysoscelis
may cross-breed with another treefrog, Hyla avivoca (Birdvoice Treefrog), in Georgia. The call of the H. crysoscelis x H. avivoca frog is similar to, but softer than that of Hyla chrysoscelis. We’ve had the good fortune to have seen and heard all of these frogs.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

W. W. Knapp: Frogs and Toads of Georgia

- Hyla chrysoscelis (Cope’s Gray Treefrog)

- Hyla avivoca (Birdvoice Treefrog)


- Hyla chrysoscelis (Cope’s Gray Treefrog)

- Hyla versicolor (Eastern Gray Treefrog)

- Hyla avivoca (Birdvoice Treefrog)

Related post:

- Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)


Kay G. said...

Is there a gray treefrog that has a smooth texture?
We get them often on our night-blooming cereus cactus, they love to tuck themselves in the cracks of the trunk of the cactus.

JSK said...

Cope's Gray Treefrog may change from smooth to rough at different times. The photo I posted just happened to be rough when I photographed early in the morning in September. I posted another photograph of a young treefrog here: