Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

Photos by J.D. Willson unless otherwise noted

Description: The green treefrog is a medium-sized – 1.25 – 2.25 in (3.2-5.7 cm) frog that, like other treefrogs, has long limbs, long digits, and sticky toe pads. This frog is green with a white, yellow or sometimes iridescent stripe along each side of the body. The length of these stripes varies among some populations and, indeed, may not be present at all. Additionally, yellow flecks are often found on the dorsum of some individuals. Males are smaller than females.

Range and Habitat: Green treefrogs are found throughout the Southeast, but are generally restricted to the Coastal Plain. In our region, they are a cosmopolitan species that is found in high numbers, especially during breeding season when males congregate in swamps and weedy ponds and lake margins. Established populations are becoming more common in Piedmont where they have apparently been introduced with garden plants or pine straw. Numerous reports of this species in many northern areas of both Georgia and South Carolina have been verified since 2008.

Habits: Green Treefrogs are generally arboreal and spend much of their lives in trees. They are also frequently encountered near porch and patio lights throughout the south during warm, wet weather; they enjoy the abundant supply of insects attracted to the light. They are nocturnal animals and males call while perched on plants adjacent to water (up to 5m high) or from floating vegetation. The calling season extends from March to October. This species is more resistant to fish than many amphibian species in our region.

Call: The call of the Green Treefrog is a loud “reeenk reeenk reeenk.”

Conservation Status: They are listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red-List given their high densities and apparently stable populations.

Pertinent References:
McAlpine, S. 1992. Genetic variation and reproductive success in the green treefrog, Hyla cinerea. Abstract, 6th Annual Meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology. p. 91.

Layne, J. R., Jr., M. A. Romano, and S. I. Guttman. 1989. Responses to desiccation of the treefrogs Hyla cinerea and H. gratiosa and their natural hybrids. American Midland Naturalist 121:61-67.

Account Author: Chad A. Jennison, University of Georgia – edited by J.D. Willson, Katrina Ford, Lauren Maynor