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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Farm ponds as critical habitats for native amphibians
A Field Guide to Amphibian Larvae and Eggs of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa
Field guide contents

Gray and Cope's Gray Treefrogs

Gray Treefrog Hyla versicolor
Cope's Gray Treefrog Hyla chrysoscelis

Status: Wisconsin – Common
Minnesota – Common
Iowa – Common
Cope's Gray Treefrog
3.2 - 3.8 cm total length

field mapGray Treefrogs and Cope's Gray Treefrogs cannot be distinguished based on morphology; herpetologists use calling rate or chromosomes for identification (Oberfoell and Christiansen 2001). Differences in eggs and tadpoles are unknown. The adults spend most of the year in trees and vegetation and descend to small ponds to breed in May–June. They lay clumps of 30–40 light brown eggs attached to floating vegetation near the surface. The outer jelly layer is weak and indistinct. Tree frog tadpoles are striking, with high (1.5 times depth of tail musculature) tail fins that often have a red-orange tinge (this color quickly disappears in preservative). Their tails usually end in a distinct flagellum. Eyes are lateral, and older larvae have very heavily pigmented tail fins with the pigment covering both the fins and musculature. Metamorphs have smooth skin and large toe pads.

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Page Last Modified: December 29, 2010