Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This moderately large North American frog is a wide-ranging species. The males are usually slightly smaller than the females. A pointed snout and flat head possessing two transverse rows of vomerine teeth are also observed. The toe pads on Hyla cinerea are large. The hind feet display extensive webbing and have two metatarsal tubercles between the toes. Some populations have individuals that lack lateral stripes, but normally H. cinerea exhibits a lateral white or yellow stripe from the jaw to the thigh on either side of the body. White or yellow spots are often scattered on the back. The external, subgular vocal sac is mostly white or yellow in males when not inflated. During breeding season, the sides of the sac may turn green.

The size of tadpoles ranges from 4.5-5.5 mm from hatching and may grow to 60 mm before metamorphosis in a 28-44 day span. Until tadpoles reach stage 25 or 26, they display continuous ontogenetic color changes. After this period, the body turns green and the venter turns yellow. The tail may have distinct yellow orbitonasal stripes, and dark mottling or reticulations. Large tadpoles sometimes retain the yellow interorbital stripe. A long tail, bulging lateral eyes, dextral anus and sinistral spiracle are other morphological features of the tadpole from this species. Adults of this species normally turn to an ashen gray color when in preservative. The normally unobserved dorsolateral stripes in living species also appear over the subcutaneous insertions of lymph-sac septa. After months in preservation, H. cinerea displays a mostly dark green or brownish color (Conant and Collins 1998).

  • Bancroft, G.T., Godley, J. S., Godley, D.T., Gross, N. N., Rojas, D. A., Sutphen, and McDiarmid, R. W. (1983). Large-scale operations management test of use of the white amur for control of problem aquatic plants; Report 1, Baseline studies; Volume V: The herpetofauna of Lake Conway. Technical Report A-78-2; N. U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  • Barrass, A. N. (1986). The effects of highway traffic noise on the phonotactic and associated reproduction behavior of selected anurans. Ph.D. dissertation. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennesse.
  • Collins, J. T. (1993). Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas: Third Edition, revised. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Lawrence.
  • Conant, R. (1977). ''The Florida Water Snake (Reptilia, Serpentes, Colubridae) established at Brownsville, Texas, with comments on other herpetological introductions in the area.'' Journal of Herpetology, 11(2), 217-220.
  • Conant, R. and Collins, J.T. (1998). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Hanlin, H. G., Martin, F. D, Wike, L. D., and Bennett, S. H. (2000). ''Terrestrial activity, abundance and species richness of amphibians in managed forests in South Carolina.'' The American Midland Naturalist, 143(1), 70-83.
  • Hedges, S. B. (1996). ''The origin of West Indian amphibians and reptiles.'' Contributions to West Indian Herpetology: A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. R., Powell and R. W., Henderson, eds., Ithaca, New York, 95-128.
  • Hedges, S.B. (1999). ''Distribution patterns of amphibians in the West Indies.'' Regional Patterns of Amphibian Distribution: A Global Perspective. W. E., Duellman, eds., Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 211-254.
  • Johnson, T.R. (2000). Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri: 2nd Edition. Conservation Commission of Missouri, Jefferson City.
  • Phelps, J. P. and Lancia, R. A. (1995). ''Effects of a clearcut on the herpetofauna of a South Carolina bottomland swamp.'' Brimleyana, 22, 31-45.
  • Platt, S.G., Russell, K.R., Snyder, W.E., Fontenot, L.W., and Miller, S. (1999). ''Distribution and conservation status of selected amphibians and reptiles in the Piedmont of South Carolina.'' Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society, 115, 8-19.
  • Powell, R., Henderson, R. W., Adler, K., and Dundee, H. (1996). ''An annotated checklist of West Indian amphibians and reptiles.'' Contributions to West Indian Herpetology: A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. R. Powell and R. W. Henderson, eds., Ithaca, New York.
  • Redmer, M., Brown, L. E., and Brandon, R. A. (1999). ''Natural history of the Birdvoiced Treefrog (Hyla avivoca) and Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) in southern Illinois.'' Natural History Survey Bulletin, 36(2), 37-67.
  • Rivero, J.A. (1998). Los Anfibios y Reptiles de Puerto Rico. University of Puerto Rico Press
  • Schwartz, A . and Henderson, R. W. (1985). A Guide to the Identification of the Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies Exclusive of Hispaniola. Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee.
  • Schwartz, A. and Henderson, R. W. (1991). Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies: Descriptions, Distributions and Natural History. University Press of Florida, Florida.
  • Schwartz, A. and Thomas, R. (1975). A Check List of West Indian Amphibians and Reptiles. Carnegie Museum of Natural History
  • Smith, H. M., and Kohler, A. J. (1977). ''A survey of herpetological introductions in the United States and Canada.'' Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, 80(1), 1-24.
  • Smith, L. L., Franz, R., and Dodd, C.K. Jr. (1993). ''Additions to the herpetofauna of Edgemont Key, Hillsborough County, Florida.'' Florida Scientist, 4(56), 231-234.
  • Thomas, A. E. (1975). ''Marking anurans with silver nitrate.'' Herpetological Review, 6, 12.
  • Wilson, L. D. and Porras, L. (1983). The Ecological Impact of Man on the South Florida Herpetofauna. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Special Publication No. 9, Lawrence, Kansas.
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Distribution

Hyla cinerea is commonly found in the central to southeastern United States. Its geographic range stretches from Virginia's eastern shore to the southeast tip of Florida and as far west as central Texas. Green treefrogs can be found as far north as Maryland and Delaware. Despite being considered monotypic, clinal variation of Hyla cinerea has been observed from Florida north along the Atlantic Coastal Plain as a possible result of strong selection and/or drift.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

  • Aresco, M. 1996. Geographic Variation in the Morphology and Lateral Stripe of the Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) in the Southeastern United States. American Midland Naturalist, 135/2: 293-298.
  • Mitchell, J., K. Reay. 1999. Atlas of Amphibians & Reptiles in Virginia. Richmond, VA: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
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Range Description

This species occurs in the USA, from Delaware south to southern Florida along Coastal Plain, west to south-central Texas; north from Gulf Coast to southeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, western Tennessee, and northern Alabama; isolated population in south-central Missouri (Conant and Collins 1991). This species has been introduced into extreme northwestern Puerto Rico (Isabela-Aguadilla area), but it is not clear if it still survives there.
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endemic to a single nation

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Range extends from Delaware south to southern Florida along the Coastal Plain, west to south-central Texas; north from the Gulf Coast to southeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, western Kentucky, western Tennessee, and northern Alabama. Isolated introduced population in south-central Missouri (Johnson 2000); also introduced in northwestern Puerto Rico (Isabela-Aguadilla area); Brownsville, Texas; and possibly a coastal island in Florida (see Redmer and Brandon 2003). Introduced population in eastern Kansas is apparently extirpated (Collins 1993). Native/introduced status in Indiana is uncertain (Lodato et al. 2004). Tadpoles of this species sometimes appear in new areas as a result of being incidentally stocked with gamefishes (J. Jensen, pers. comm., 2001).

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Distribution and Habitat

The habitats most likely to house H. cinerea are swamps, sloughs and weedy margins of lakes and ponds. The lower Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains and the lower Mississippi River drainage are ideal locations of the species' environment (Connant and Collins 1998) . The range in the Mississippi River extends from Louisiana and Mississippi to the floodplains of southern and eastern Arkansas, western Tennessee and Kentucky. Southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois are also in this range. The Atlantic/Gulf Coastal range extends from the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia to the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Most of Alabama, Mississippi and all of Louisiana complete the range. Introduced populations of this frog have been documented in Puerto Rico (Hedges 1996; 1999; Powell et al. 1996; Rivero 1998; Schwartz and Thomas 1975; Schwartz and Henderson 1985; 1991) , central Missouri (Johnson 2000) , a coastal island in Florida (Smith et al. 1993), and in Brownsville, Texas (Conant 1977; Smith and Kohler 1977). A population in east central Kansas that was once introduced to a fish farm has most likely been extirpated (Collins 1993).

  • Bancroft, G.T., Godley, J. S., Godley, D.T., Gross, N. N., Rojas, D. A., Sutphen, and McDiarmid, R. W. (1983). Large-scale operations management test of use of the white amur for control of problem aquatic plants; Report 1, Baseline studies; Volume V: The herpetofauna of Lake Conway. Technical Report A-78-2; N. U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  • Barrass, A. N. (1986). The effects of highway traffic noise on the phonotactic and associated reproduction behavior of selected anurans. Ph.D. dissertation. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennesse.
  • Collins, J. T. (1993). Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas: Third Edition, revised. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Lawrence.
  • Conant, R. (1977). ''The Florida Water Snake (Reptilia, Serpentes, Colubridae) established at Brownsville, Texas, with comments on other herpetological introductions in the area.'' Journal of Herpetology, 11(2), 217-220.
  • Conant, R. and Collins, J.T. (1998). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Hanlin, H. G., Martin, F. D, Wike, L. D., and Bennett, S. H. (2000). ''Terrestrial activity, abundance and species richness of amphibians in managed forests in South Carolina.'' The American Midland Naturalist, 143(1), 70-83.
  • Hedges, S. B. (1996). ''The origin of West Indian amphibians and reptiles.'' Contributions to West Indian Herpetology: A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. R., Powell and R. W., Henderson, eds., Ithaca, New York, 95-128.
  • Hedges, S.B. (1999). ''Distribution patterns of amphibians in the West Indies.'' Regional Patterns of Amphibian Distribution: A Global Perspective. W. E., Duellman, eds., Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 211-254.
  • Johnson, T.R. (2000). Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri: 2nd Edition. Conservation Commission of Missouri, Jefferson City.
  • Phelps, J. P. and Lancia, R. A. (1995). ''Effects of a clearcut on the herpetofauna of a South Carolina bottomland swamp.'' Brimleyana, 22, 31-45.
  • Platt, S.G., Russell, K.R., Snyder, W.E., Fontenot, L.W., and Miller, S. (1999). ''Distribution and conservation status of selected amphibians and reptiles in the Piedmont of South Carolina.'' Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society, 115, 8-19.
  • Powell, R., Henderson, R. W., Adler, K., and Dundee, H. (1996). ''An annotated checklist of West Indian amphibians and reptiles.'' Contributions to West Indian Herpetology: A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. R. Powell and R. W. Henderson, eds., Ithaca, New York.
  • Redmer, M., Brown, L. E., and Brandon, R. A. (1999). ''Natural history of the Birdvoiced Treefrog (Hyla avivoca) and Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) in southern Illinois.'' Natural History Survey Bulletin, 36(2), 37-67.
  • Rivero, J.A. (1998). Los Anfibios y Reptiles de Puerto Rico. University of Puerto Rico Press
  • Schwartz, A . and Henderson, R. W. (1985). A Guide to the Identification of the Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies Exclusive of Hispaniola. Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee.
  • Schwartz, A. and Henderson, R. W. (1991). Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies: Descriptions, Distributions and Natural History. University Press of Florida, Florida.
  • Schwartz, A. and Thomas, R. (1975). A Check List of West Indian Amphibians and Reptiles. Carnegie Museum of Natural History
  • Smith, H. M., and Kohler, A. J. (1977). ''A survey of herpetological introductions in the United States and Canada.'' Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, 80(1), 1-24.
  • Smith, L. L., Franz, R., and Dodd, C.K. Jr. (1993). ''Additions to the herpetofauna of Edgemont Key, Hillsborough County, Florida.'' Florida Scientist, 4(56), 231-234.
  • Thomas, A. E. (1975). ''Marking anurans with silver nitrate.'' Herpetological Review, 6, 12.
  • Wilson, L. D. and Porras, L. (1983). The Ecological Impact of Man on the South Florida Herpetofauna. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Special Publication No. 9, Lawrence, Kansas.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Green treefrogs are long-legged and smooth-skinned treefrogs. Most individuals have a bright yellow-green dorsum, but individuals that are reddish-brown to green are also common. Their dorsum frequently has small golden spots which overlay the green color. Ventrally, they are white to cream and have a similarly-colored prominent lateral stripe on each side. Total length ranges from 34 to 62 mm, females tend to be larger than males.

Range length: 32 to 64 mm.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: female larger

  • Pham, L., S. Boudreaux, S. Karhbet, B. Price, A. Ackleh, J. Carter, N. Pal. 2007. Population Estimates of Hyla cinerea (Schneider) (Green Tree Frog) in an Urban Environment. Southeastern Naturalist, 6/2: 203-216.
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Size

Length: 6 cm

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Type Information

Holotype for Hyla cinerea
Catalog Number: USNM 26291
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Amphibians & Reptiles
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Ethanol
Year Collected: 1899
Locality: Four-Mile Run, Fairfax, Virginia, United States, North America
  • Holotype: Miller, G. S. 1899. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 13: 76.
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Ecology

Habitat

Green treefrogs are frequently found in small ponds, large lakes, marshes, and streams. They prefer habitats with plentiful floating vegetation, grasses, and cattails. One study suggested that, in an artificial hardwood forest setting, the abundance of Hyla cinerea is related to the openness of the forest canopy. The study noted that 88% of 331 individuals were found in areas of the forest where the canopy was open. The presence of green treefrogs in the open canopy areas was interpreted as a method for finding prey, which concentrate in sunny areas with dense ground vegetation.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial ; freshwater

Terrestrial Biomes: forest

Aquatic Biomes: lakes and ponds; rivers and streams

Wetlands: marsh ; swamp

Other Habitat Features: riparian

  • Horn, S., J. Hanula, M. Ulyshen. 2004. Abundance of Green Tree Frogs and Insects in Artificial Canopy Gaps in a Bottomland Hardwood Forest. American Midland Naturalist, 153: 321-326.
  • Martof, B., W. Palmer, J. Bailey, J. Harrison III. 1980. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. Greensboro, NC: University of North Carolina Press.
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Swamps, marshes, and the edges of ponds, lakes, and streams, particularly where there is abundant floating and emergent vegetation. During daytime, rests among cattail blades or other leaves or shaded branches. Eggs and larvae develop in shallow, still water. Males call while perched on plants next to water (up to 5m above surface) or while sitting on floating plants. Larvae occur mainly in dense floating vegetation.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Comments: Green treefrogs inhabit swamps, marshes, and areas adjacent to ponds, lakes, and slow streams, particularly where aquatic habitats include abundant floating and emergent vegetation. Little is known about the habits of green treefrogs outside the breeding season; they may overwinter in upland situations near wetlands. Eggs and larvae develop in shallow, still, permanent or long-lasting temporary water. Males call while perched on plants next to water or while sitting on floating plants.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Green treefrogs are insectivores that commonly consume flies, mosquitoes, and other small insects. Freed (1980) suggested that prey were not selected by size, but according to their activity; the most active prey were the most frequently eaten. According to Freed, nearly 90% of Hyla cinerea prey were actively pursued, the other 10% were insects walking or close enough to be snatched up by the frog's tongue.

Animal Foods: insects

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

  • Freed, A. 1980. Prey Selection and Feeding Behavior of the Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea). Ecology, 61/3: 461-465.
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Comments: Metamorphosed frogs eat various small invertebrates (mostly insects) obtained while climbing in vegetation or sometimes near lights at night. Larvae eat suspended matter, organic debris, algae, and plant tissue.

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Associations

Although green treefrogs are not considered a keystone species, they play a vital role ecosystems they inhabit. They are prey to large predatory fish, snakes, and their other predators and green treefrog adults consume large quantities of insects.

Green treefrog parasites in a Florida population include the nematode Cosmocercella haberi (23% of individuals), a protozoan in the genus Opalina (47% of individuals), a trematode Clinostomum attenuatum (2% of frogs), and a nematode in the genus Rhabdias (5%). Another study found that Agamascaris enopla is an internal nemaode parasite.

Commensal/Parasitic Species:

  • Cosmocercella haberi
  • Opalina
  • Clinostomum attenuatum
  • Rhabdias
  • Agamascaris enopla

  • Creel, T., C. Foster, D. Forrester. 2000. Parasites of the Green treefrog, Hyla cinerea, from Orange lake, Alachua county, Florida, U.S.A.. Comparative parasitology, 67/2: 255-258.
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Adult green treefrogs are subject to predation by a wide variety of organisms. Snakes, birds, large fish, and even other frogs may prey on Hyla cinerea. Green treefrogs are one of the only species in the genus Hyla in the southeastern United States that typically breeds in areas with large predatory fish. Tadpoles are at even more risk than adults because they have few defensive mechanisms and are easily caught. Predatory aquatic insects such as giant water bugs (Belastomatidae) frequently feed on tadpoles in their early stages as well as smaller fish such as pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) and bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus). Green treefrog adults are exceptionally good at hiding on grasses and other vegetation. When they tuck in their legs and close their eyes they blend in with the color of leaves.

Known Predators:

  • many birds that hunt in aquatic systems (Aves)
  • bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus)
  • pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus)
  • other species of predatory fish (Actinopterygii)
  • larger frogs (Rana)
  • snakes (Serpentes)

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

  • Gunsburger, M. 2005. Differential Predation on Tadpoles Influences the Potential Effects of Hybridization between Hyla cinerea and Hyla gratiosa. Journal of Herpetology, 39/4: 682-687.
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Population Biology

Global Abundance

100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 100,000. Common to abundant in suitable habitat in Texas; a common "backyard" species in much of eastern Texas and in Florida (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999). Common to abundant throughout the coastal plain in Alabama (Mount 1975).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Green treefrogs use a variety of calls to communicate. Males attract females through a specific mating call. Alarm calls are used to broadcast that there is an immediate threat or predator around. There is also a noticeably different rain call, which is vocalized when frogs sense that there will soon be rain. Green treefrogs have well developed hearing and can sense vibrations through the ground. The parietal organ, located on the top of the head between the eyes, has been implicated in compass orientation and thermoregulation.

Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; vibrations ; chemical

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Cyclicity

Comments: Green treefrogs are most active on warm nights, especially in association with rain, and often are inactive during the colder months, especially in the north.

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Life Cycle

Green treefrogs develop similarly to other anuran species. Eggs hatch at about 5 days post-fertilization. The first tadpole stage occurs directly after hatching. During this stage, tadpoles are very small and feed on the remainder of their yolk. Several days after hatching external gills become functional and they begin to graze on microscopic vegetation. Soon after external gills become functional they begin to disappear as the operculum develops and covers over them. Three weeks after hatching external gills have disappeared and internal gills become the primary mode of respiration. Eight to ten weeks after hatching, the front and rear legs begin development. Tadpoles also transition to a carnivorous diet at this point. In the final weeks of development the front and rear legs become fully functional and the tail starts to shorten. At this time green treefrogs are ready to leave the water and venture onto land.

Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis

  • Linzey, D. 2001. Vertebrate Biology. New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill.
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Life Expectancy

Lifespans in the wild are unknown, but captives can live 6 years with proper care.

Typical lifespan

Status: captivity:
6 (high) years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Observations: These animals have been known to live up to 6.2 years (Andrew Snider and J. Bowler 1992), but considering the longevity of similar species this value is likely significantly underestimated.
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Reproduction

Breeding is strongly influenced by day length, temperature, and precipitation. These relative influence of these factors is not well understood, but these frogs generally breed following rainfall. Males tend to call more frequently as temperature and day length increases. To attract mates, males use a distinct advertisement call which is noticeably different than release or warning calls. Once the male has attracted an appropriate mate they begin amplexus, with the male tightly grasping onto the female to bring their cloacal openings close together for fertilization. Males generally try to mate with as many females as they can attract.

Mating System: polygynous

Average clutch size in a Florida population of green treefrogs was observed to be approximately 400 eggs. Although many females may only lay a single clutch in a season, some have been known to lay multiple clutches. Female size was positively correlated with clutch size, but after the initial clutch the number of eggs nearly always decreased. In the Florida population, advertisement calls of males were documented between March and September and pairs in amplexus were observed between April and August. There is some evidence to suggest that breeding season length is correlated with latitude; breeding season length decreases as latitude increases because of temperature limitations.

Breeding interval: Most females breed once yearly, although some have several clutches during the breeding season.

Breeding season: Breeding occurs from March to September.

Average number of offspring: 400.

Range time to hatching: 4 to 14 days.

Average time to hatching: 5 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (External ); oviparous

There is no parental investment beyond the efforts of mating and egg-laying.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female)

  • Gunzburger, M. 2005. Reprodcutive Ecology of the Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) in Northwester Florida. American Midland Naturalist, 155: 321-328.
  • Linzey, D. 2001. Vertebrate Biology. New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill.
  • Saenz, D., L. Fitzgerald, K. Baum, R. Conner. 2006. Abiotic Correlates of Anuran Calling Phenology: The Importance of Rain, Temperature, and Season. Herpretological Monographs, 20: 64-82.
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Breeding occurs in spring or early summer (mainly April-August). Hundreds of adults may aggregate at breeding pools. Individual females divide one or more clutches of several hundred eggs among multiple clusters. Larvae hatch in a few days, often shelter and feed among dense floating vegetation, and metamorphose in a couple months, by the end of summer (often July-August).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Hyla cinerea

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Hyla cinerea

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Green treefrogs are common throughout their geographic range. Populations are relatively large and stable at this time. Although, like all frog species, they are reliant on aquatic habitats that are frequently destroyed by human activities. They are listed as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN list.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Hammerson, G.A. & Hedges, B.

Reviewer/s
Stuart, S.N., Chanson, J.S., Cox, N.A. & Young, B.E.

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.

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Population

Population
Total adult population size is unknown but it is apparently common, and is likely to be stable.

Population Trend
Stable
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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Population trend is unknown but probably relatively stable.

Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%

Comments: Likely relatively stable in extent of occurrence, probably less than 25% decline in population size, area of occurrence, and number/condition of occurrences, but few data available. At the margin of the range in southeastern Missouri, swamp and marsh drainage and stream channelization have destroyed a large portion of the suitable habitat (Johnson 2000).

This species appears to be more resilient and opportunistic than are many amphibians and has expanded its breeding range into many areas where ponds suitable for breeding recently have been created by humans or rebounding populations of beavers (B. Rothermel, in Jensen et al. 2008).

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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

A series of nasal barks described as sounding like "frank frank frank" or "quonk quonk quonk" have been observed as breeding vocalizations. A complete reference of breeding vocalizations may be found in the Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles.

  • Bancroft, G.T., Godley, J. S., Godley, D.T., Gross, N. N., Rojas, D. A., Sutphen, and McDiarmid, R. W. (1983). Large-scale operations management test of use of the white amur for control of problem aquatic plants; Report 1, Baseline studies; Volume V: The herpetofauna of Lake Conway. Technical Report A-78-2; N. U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  • Barrass, A. N. (1986). The effects of highway traffic noise on the phonotactic and associated reproduction behavior of selected anurans. Ph.D. dissertation. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennesse.
  • Collins, J. T. (1993). Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas: Third Edition, revised. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Lawrence.
  • Conant, R. (1977). ''The Florida Water Snake (Reptilia, Serpentes, Colubridae) established at Brownsville, Texas, with comments on other herpetological introductions in the area.'' Journal of Herpetology, 11(2), 217-220.
  • Conant, R. and Collins, J.T. (1998). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Hanlin, H. G., Martin, F. D, Wike, L. D., and Bennett, S. H. (2000). ''Terrestrial activity, abundance and species richness of amphibians in managed forests in South Carolina.'' The American Midland Naturalist, 143(1), 70-83.
  • Hedges, S. B. (1996). ''The origin of West Indian amphibians and reptiles.'' Contributions to West Indian Herpetology: A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. R., Powell and R. W., Henderson, eds., Ithaca, New York, 95-128.
  • Hedges, S.B. (1999). ''Distribution patterns of amphibians in the West Indies.'' Regional Patterns of Amphibian Distribution: A Global Perspective. W. E., Duellman, eds., Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 211-254.
  • Johnson, T.R. (2000). Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri: 2nd Edition. Conservation Commission of Missouri, Jefferson City.
  • Phelps, J. P. and Lancia, R. A. (1995). ''Effects of a clearcut on the herpetofauna of a South Carolina bottomland swamp.'' Brimleyana, 22, 31-45.
  • Platt, S.G., Russell, K.R., Snyder, W.E., Fontenot, L.W., and Miller, S. (1999). ''Distribution and conservation status of selected amphibians and reptiles in the Piedmont of South Carolina.'' Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society, 115, 8-19.
  • Powell, R., Henderson, R. W., Adler, K., and Dundee, H. (1996). ''An annotated checklist of West Indian amphibians and reptiles.'' Contributions to West Indian Herpetology: A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. R. Powell and R. W. Henderson, eds., Ithaca, New York.
  • Redmer, M., Brown, L. E., and Brandon, R. A. (1999). ''Natural history of the Birdvoiced Treefrog (Hyla avivoca) and Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) in southern Illinois.'' Natural History Survey Bulletin, 36(2), 37-67.
  • Rivero, J.A. (1998). Los Anfibios y Reptiles de Puerto Rico. University of Puerto Rico Press
  • Schwartz, A . and Henderson, R. W. (1985). A Guide to the Identification of the Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies Exclusive of Hispaniola. Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee.
  • Schwartz, A. and Henderson, R. W. (1991). Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies: Descriptions, Distributions and Natural History. University Press of Florida, Florida.
  • Schwartz, A. and Thomas, R. (1975). A Check List of West Indian Amphibians and Reptiles. Carnegie Museum of Natural History
  • Smith, H. M., and Kohler, A. J. (1977). ''A survey of herpetological introductions in the United States and Canada.'' Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, 80(1), 1-24.
  • Smith, L. L., Franz, R., and Dodd, C.K. Jr. (1993). ''Additions to the herpetofauna of Edgemont Key, Hillsborough County, Florida.'' Florida Scientist, 4(56), 231-234.
  • Thomas, A. E. (1975). ''Marking anurans with silver nitrate.'' Herpetological Review, 6, 12.
  • Wilson, L. D. and Porras, L. (1983). The Ecological Impact of Man on the South Florida Herpetofauna. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Special Publication No. 9, Lawrence, Kansas.
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats to this species. It is sometimes found in the international pet trade but at levels that do not currently constitute a major threat.
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Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors

Many human activities negatively impact the populations and habitat of this species. Among the activities are the creation of artificial lakes/ponds (Platt et al. 1999; Redmer et al. 1999), fish introductions (Bancroft et al. 1983; Redmer et al. 1999), highway traffic noise (Barrass 1986), silver nitrate used in marking individuals (Thomas 1975), timber harvest (Hanlin et al. 2000; Phelps and Lancia 1995) and the introduction of the Cuban Treefrog (Wilson and Porras 1983).

  • Bancroft, G.T., Godley, J. S., Godley, D.T., Gross, N. N., Rojas, D. A., Sutphen, and McDiarmid, R. W. (1983). Large-scale operations management test of use of the white amur for control of problem aquatic plants; Report 1, Baseline studies; Volume V: The herpetofauna of Lake Conway. Technical Report A-78-2; N. U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, Mississippi.
  • Barrass, A. N. (1986). The effects of highway traffic noise on the phonotactic and associated reproduction behavior of selected anurans. Ph.D. dissertation. Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennesse.
  • Collins, J. T. (1993). Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas: Third Edition, revised. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Lawrence.
  • Conant, R. (1977). ''The Florida Water Snake (Reptilia, Serpentes, Colubridae) established at Brownsville, Texas, with comments on other herpetological introductions in the area.'' Journal of Herpetology, 11(2), 217-220.
  • Conant, R. and Collins, J.T. (1998). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Hanlin, H. G., Martin, F. D, Wike, L. D., and Bennett, S. H. (2000). ''Terrestrial activity, abundance and species richness of amphibians in managed forests in South Carolina.'' The American Midland Naturalist, 143(1), 70-83.
  • Hedges, S. B. (1996). ''The origin of West Indian amphibians and reptiles.'' Contributions to West Indian Herpetology: A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. R., Powell and R. W., Henderson, eds., Ithaca, New York, 95-128.
  • Hedges, S.B. (1999). ''Distribution patterns of amphibians in the West Indies.'' Regional Patterns of Amphibian Distribution: A Global Perspective. W. E., Duellman, eds., Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 211-254.
  • Johnson, T.R. (2000). Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri: 2nd Edition. Conservation Commission of Missouri, Jefferson City.
  • Phelps, J. P. and Lancia, R. A. (1995). ''Effects of a clearcut on the herpetofauna of a South Carolina bottomland swamp.'' Brimleyana, 22, 31-45.
  • Platt, S.G., Russell, K.R., Snyder, W.E., Fontenot, L.W., and Miller, S. (1999). ''Distribution and conservation status of selected amphibians and reptiles in the Piedmont of South Carolina.'' Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society, 115, 8-19.
  • Powell, R., Henderson, R. W., Adler, K., and Dundee, H. (1996). ''An annotated checklist of West Indian amphibians and reptiles.'' Contributions to West Indian Herpetology: A Tribute to Albert Schwartz. R. Powell and R. W. Henderson, eds., Ithaca, New York.
  • Redmer, M., Brown, L. E., and Brandon, R. A. (1999). ''Natural history of the Birdvoiced Treefrog (Hyla avivoca) and Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) in southern Illinois.'' Natural History Survey Bulletin, 36(2), 37-67.
  • Rivero, J.A. (1998). Los Anfibios y Reptiles de Puerto Rico. University of Puerto Rico Press
  • Schwartz, A . and Henderson, R. W. (1985). A Guide to the Identification of the Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies Exclusive of Hispaniola. Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee.
  • Schwartz, A. and Henderson, R. W. (1991). Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies: Descriptions, Distributions and Natural History. University Press of Florida, Florida.
  • Schwartz, A. and Thomas, R. (1975). A Check List of West Indian Amphibians and Reptiles. Carnegie Museum of Natural History
  • Smith, H. M., and Kohler, A. J. (1977). ''A survey of herpetological introductions in the United States and Canada.'' Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, 80(1), 1-24.
  • Smith, L. L., Franz, R., and Dodd, C.K. Jr. (1993). ''Additions to the herpetofauna of Edgemont Key, Hillsborough County, Florida.'' Florida Scientist, 4(56), 231-234.
  • Thomas, A. E. (1975). ''Marking anurans with silver nitrate.'' Herpetological Review, 6, 12.
  • Wilson, L. D. and Porras, L. (1983). The Ecological Impact of Man on the South Florida Herpetofauna. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Special Publication No. 9, Lawrence, Kansas.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
No conservation measures are needed at present. Its range includes several protected areas.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

These treefrogs have no known negative economic impacts.

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Green treefrogs and other anurans impact populations of mosquitoes and other small insects through predation. They can also be bioindicators of aquatic contamination, including contamination by many synthetic compounds used in pesticides, herbicides, and medications. For example, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have a high affinity for fat and are easily introduced through the digestive system. PCBs continue to accumulate with repeated exposure and should increase with organisms that have more fat. The thin, permeable skin of anurans puts them at a higher risk because compounds are so easily absorbed. Tadpoles and metamorphs are considered to be good indicators of PCB accumulation in sediment because they are usually in more direct contact with contaminated sediment. Adults are considered to be general indicators of contaminated areas but not specific conditions.

Positive Impacts: research and education; controls pest population

  • DeGarady, C., R. Halbrook. 2006. Using Anurans as Bioindicators of PCB Contaminated Streams. Journal of Herpetology, 40/1: 127-130.
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Wikipedia

American green tree frog

The American green tree frog, Hyla cinerea, is a common species of New World tree frog belonging to the genus Hyla. A common backyard species, it is popular as a pet, and is the state amphibian of Georgia and Louisiana.

Description[edit]

The frog is green, medium-sized, and up to 6 cm (2.5 in) long. Their bodies are usually green in shades ranging from bright yellowish-olive to lime green. The color can change depending on lighting or temperature. Small patches of gold or white may occur on the skin, and they may also have a white, pale yellow, or cream-colored lines running from their jaws or upper lips to their groins. They have smooth skin and large toe pads. Their abdomens are pale yellow to white. Males have wrinkled throats (indicating the vocal pouch) and are slightly smaller than females.

With distended vocal sac

Distribution and habitat[edit]

These frogs are found in the central and southeastern United States, with a geographic range from the Eastern Shore of Virginia to southeast Florida, with populations as far west as central Texas, and as far north as Maryland and Delaware.[1] The frogs are considered monotypic, but clinal variation has been observed from Florida north along the Atlantic coastal plain. This possibly may be attributed "to the result of strong selection and/or drift."[1]

Green tree frogs "prefer habitats with plentiful floating vegetation, grasses, and cattails" and are often found in "small ponds, large lakes, marshes, and streams also can be found at night in a backyard swimming pool.

Behavior[edit]

Male Hyla cinerea calling

Because these frogs are small and easily frightened, they often do not do well with frequent handling. Some specimens do seem to tolerate occasional handling, however, so handling frequency should be determined on an individual basis. The little frogs tend to be nocturnal, and in captivity they will be the most active once the lights are off. Males frequently call most of the year, especially after being misted in the tank.<http://lllreptile.com/info/library/animal-care-sheets/amphibians/-/green-tree-frog/>

Breeding[edit]

Most American green tree frog females breed once per year, but some have multiple clutches in a single mating season.[1] In a Florida population, "advertisement calls of males were documented between March and September and pairs in amplexus were observed between April and August." In the Florida population, the average number of offspring in a single clutch was observed to be about 400 eggs.[1] Eggs take between four and 14 days to hatch, with an average of five days.[1] According to the Animal Diversity Web at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, "Female size was positively correlated with clutch size, but after the initial clutch, the number of eggs nearly always decreased."[1]

Breeding is known to be strongly influenced by day length, temperature, and precipitation."[1] While "the relative influence of these factors is not well understood," it is known as the frogs generally breed following rainfall, and males call more frequently as temperature and day length increase.[1] Some evidence demonstrates the length of the breeding season length is correlated with latitude, with season length decreasing as latitude increases due to temperature limitations.[1]

Males use a distinct advertisement call, "noticeably different than [sic] release or warning calls," to attract mates.[1] Once a mate has been attracted, the pair begins amplexus, in which "the male tightly grasps onto the female to bring their cloacal openings close together for fertilization."[1] Males are polygynous, generally seeking to mate with as many females as they can attract.[1]

American green tree frogs show no parental investment except for mating and egg-laying.[1]

Feeding[edit]

American green tree frogs are insectivores, usually consuming flies, mosquitoes, and other small insects such as crickets.[1] One study suggested the frog selects prey not by its size, but according to its activity level, with the most active prey being the most frequently eaten.[1] The same study showed "nearly 90% of Hyla cinerea prey were actively pursued," with the other 10% being "insects walking or close enough to be snatched up by the frog's tongue."[1]

American green tree frogs vary in color.

As pets[edit]

The frogs are popular pets because of their small size, appearance, and the undemanding conditions needed to take care of them. Unlike many amphibians, they do not require artificial heating. They need a large (at least ten-gallon) terrarium and do best with a substrate that will hold some humidity, such as commercial shredded bark or coconut husk bedding, or untreated topsoil on the floor of their terrarium. Tree frogs are arboreal, so the height on the tank is more important than the length. A variety of things for climbing, such as plants or branches, should be in the habitat. A shallow water dish should be included.[2] Captive frogs should not be handled any more than necessary; when necessary, clean gloves should be worn.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Matthew Nichols and Karen Francl, "Hyla cinerea (green treefrog)." University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.
  2. ^ McLeod, Lianne. "American Green Tree Frogs as Pets". Retrieved March 18, 2012. 
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: According to Duellman (1993), the name should be changed from HYLA CINEREA (Schneider, 1792) to "HYLA CINERA (Schneider, 1799)," following Dubois ("1986," Alytes 5:130).

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