CRITTER SPOTLIGHT: Gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor)
Good Morning Watershed Explorers,
Today's critter spotlight is the gray tree frog (Hyla versicolor). Gray tree frogs are very common in the Northeast. They range in size from 1.25-2.25 inches. Females are usually a little larger than males. Gray tree frogs have amazing camouflage as can be seen from the photo below.
Gray tree frogs have a really cool mating call. Click on the link below to check it out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bzotS1ow0Q
Gray tree frogs, as you probably guessed, live in trees! They live in a wide variety of different environments where trees and water are present. They have sticky pads on their toes which allow them to climb up into trees and blend in with the bark. They will range in color from light gray with darker gray markings, to dark gray with even green markings. The green helps them to blend in with lichen on trees.
Adult gray tree frogs eat a variety of invertebrates including slugs, worms, mites, and spiders. They may even consume smaller frogs if other food is unavailable. The larva will eat algae and decaying water plants.
All amphibians are important to watersheds. The gray tree frog is no different. They consume a variety of invertebrates which help to keep these populations under control. They have permeable skin which means they absorb water through their skin, and because of this, they are an indicator species. That means if pollutants are present in the environment, amphibian populations are at risk. Gray tree frogs are a little less sensitive as they spend most of their adult life in trees and not directly in the water, but they lay their eggs in the water, so pollutants could affect the eggs or the larva of this species.
The inspiration for this post today can be seen below. Through some gardening adventures yesterday, my family and I uncovered this little lady in some mulch. She was fast asleep and we very rudely awoke her. After a few minutes, she started to open her eyes a bit, but this nocturnal creature was definitely not thrilled to be taken from her slumber. We had a few pictures and minutes of observation and kindly returned her to her resting spot.
I hope you enjoyed this critter spotlight today. Please let me know if you have a critter you would like me to showcase in an upcoming post. Have a wonderful Sunday, get out to explore.