Monday, July 30, 2012

Tree Frog

Find the Frog- Click to enlarge
It turns out that although we hear tree frogs most nights, this ain't one!  Thanks to Dr. Stan Trauth of Arkansas State University* for the following correction:
"I would like to mention, if you don’t mind, that your ‘Treefrog’ is actually a Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer), which is actually a chorus frog. They normally are not found in trees. They are generally the first frogs that can be heard calling in mid-to-late winter in the Ozarks."  
Pseudacris crucifer amplexus
He was kind enough to provide the great picture to the right.  Now you might say that outs was a "tree frog since it is a frog on a tree.  As a "spring" peeper, it is out of place.  The bad news is I was wrong on the ID.  The good news is that I have a new source of expertise to "bug" (or more likely "frog") with future amphibian questions.

Barb was watering her dessicated flower garden at Bull Mills when she started yelling for me to bring a camera.  She had spotted this frog camouflaged against a tree and didn't dare leave for fear of losing sight of it.  Fortunately it was very patient.

Whops- Spring Peeper
One of my favorite sounds of night is the call of the Gray tree frog.   Heard singly it is identifiable, while in a chorus it can even drown out conversation.  These calls filling the woods are frequently mistaken for crickets. Here is that memorable call.

Gray tree frogs may have a wide variety of colors from dark brown to green.  They typically have some irregular dark blotches on the back like our friend in the picture. A large white spot which is present below each eye escaped the camera. The belly is white and the inside of its hind legs is yellow or orange-yellow with gray or black mottling.

There are two species of Gray tree frog-Hyla versicolor and H. chrysoscelis.  They are virtually identical in appearance and can only be identified in the field by differences in their call.  Although they share the same terrain and habitat they have maintained separate species.  An amazing fact! - in spite of their great similarity,  H. versicolorhas has only half as many chromosomes as H. chrysoscelis.

The next time you are outside among the trees on a sultry night, just picture a one to two inch wonder with the big voice. 

* Dr. Trauth is the author of The Amphibians and Reptiles of Arkansas

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