American green tree frog

American green tree frog

Overview
The American green tree frog (Hyla cinerea) is a common species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 tree frog
Tree frog
Hylidae is a wide-ranging family of frogs commonly referred to as "tree frogs and their allies". However, the hylids include a diversity of frog species, many of which do not live in trees, but are terrestrial or semi-aquatic.-Characteristics:...

 belonging to the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Hyla
Hyla
The genus Hyla is one of approximately 38 genera in the New World family of tree frogs . The word Hyla translates to "tree," and tree frogs are indeed arboreal...

. It is a common backyard species that is popular as a pet
Frogs as pets
Frogs have recently become very popular exotic pets as they are generally undemanding, often visually appealing, and can be kept under fairly basic conditions, compared to reptiles. Many frogs, especially small ones, are inexpensive, and their food is in most cases easily purchased...

, and is the state amphibian of Georgia and Louisiana.

The frog is green medium-sized, up to 6 cm (2.5 in) long. Their bodies are usually green in shades ranging from bright yellowish olive to lime green
Lime (color)
Lime, also traditionally known as lime green or lime-green, is a color three-quarters of the way between yellow and green , so named because it is a representation of the color of the citrus fruit called limes...

.
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Encyclopedia
The American green tree frog (Hyla cinerea) is a common species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 tree frog
Tree frog
Hylidae is a wide-ranging family of frogs commonly referred to as "tree frogs and their allies". However, the hylids include a diversity of frog species, many of which do not live in trees, but are terrestrial or semi-aquatic.-Characteristics:...

 belonging to the genus
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 Hyla
Hyla
The genus Hyla is one of approximately 38 genera in the New World family of tree frogs . The word Hyla translates to "tree," and tree frogs are indeed arboreal...

. It is a common backyard species that is popular as a pet
Frogs as pets
Frogs have recently become very popular exotic pets as they are generally undemanding, often visually appealing, and can be kept under fairly basic conditions, compared to reptiles. Many frogs, especially small ones, are inexpensive, and their food is in most cases easily purchased...

, and is the state amphibian of Georgia and Louisiana.

Description


The frog is green medium-sized, up to 6 cm (2.5 in) long. Their bodies are usually green in shades ranging from bright yellowish olive to lime green
Lime (color)
Lime, also traditionally known as lime green or lime-green, is a color three-quarters of the way between yellow and green , so named because it is a representation of the color of the citrus fruit called limes...

. The darkness of the color can change depending on lighting or temperature. There may be small patches of gold or white on the skin, and they may also have a white, pale yellow, or cream-colored line running from the jaw
Jaw
The jaw is any opposable articulated structure at the entrance of the mouth, typically used for grasping and manipulating food. The term jaws is also broadly applied to the whole of the structures constituting the vault of the mouth and serving to open and close it and is part of the body plan of...

 or upper lip
Lip
Lips are a visible body part at the mouth of humans and many animals. Lips are soft, movable, and serve as the opening for food intake and in the articulation of sound and speech...

 to the groin
Groin
In human anatomy, the groin areas are the two creases at the junction of the torso with the legs, on either side of the pubic area. This is also known as the medial compartment of the thigh. A pulled groin muscle usually refers to a painful injury sustained by straining the hip adductor muscles...

. They have smooth skin and large toe pads. The abdomen is pale yellow to white. Males have wrinkled throats (indicating the vocal pouch
Vocal sac
The vocal sac is the flexible membrane of skin possessed by most male frogs. The purpose of the vocal sac is usually as an amplification of their mating or advertisement call...

) and are slightly smaller than females.

Distribution and habitat


The frogs are found in the central and southeastern United States
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

, with a geographic range
Range (biology)
In biology, the range or distribution of a species is the geographical area within which that species can be found. Within that range, dispersion is variation in local density.The term is often qualified:...

 from the Eastern Shore of Virginia
Eastern Shore of Virginia
The Eastern Shore of Virginia consists of two counties on the Atlantic coast of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. The region is part of the Delmarva Peninsula and is separated from the rest of Virginia by the Chesapeake Bay. Its population was 45,553 as of 2010...

 to southeast Florida, with populations as far west as central Texas
Central Texas
Central Texas , is a region in the U.S. state of Texas. It is roughly bordered by San Marcos to Fredericksburg to Waco, and to Brenham, and includes the Austin–Round Rock, Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood, Bryan-College Station, and Waco metropolitan areas...

. and as far north as Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 and Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

. The frogs are considered monotypic, but clinal variation has been observed observed from Florida north along the Atlantic coastal plain
Atlantic Coastal Plain
The Atlantic coastal plain has both low elevation and low relief, but it is also a relatively flat landform extending from the New York Bight southward to a Georgia/Florida section of the Eastern Continental Divide, which demarcates the plain from the ACF River Basin in the Gulf Coastal Plain to...

. This possibly may be attributed "to the result of strong selection
Selection
In the context of evolution, certain traits or alleles of genes segregating within a population may be subject to selection. Under selection, individuals with advantageous or "adaptive" traits tend to be more successful than their peers reproductively—meaning they contribute more offspring to the...

 and/or drift
Genetic drift
Genetic drift or allelic drift is the change in the frequency of a gene variant in a population due to random sampling.The alleles in the offspring are a sample of those in the parents, and chance has a role in determining whether a given individual survives and reproduces...

."

Green tree frogs "prefer habitats with plentiful floating vegetation
Aquatic plant
Aquatic plants are plants that have adapted to living in aquatic environments. They are also referred to as hydrophytes or aquatic macrophytes. These plants require special adaptations for living submerged in water, or at the water's surface. Aquatic plants can only grow in water or in soil that is...

, grass
Grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

es, and cattails" and are often found in "small pond
Pond
A pond is a body of standing water, either natural or man-made, that is usually smaller than a lake. A wide variety of man-made bodies of water are classified as ponds, including water gardens, water features and koi ponds; all designed for aesthetic ornamentation as landscape or architectural...

s, large lake
Lake
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or salt water of considerable size, localized in a basin, that is surrounded by land. Lakes are inland and not part of the ocean and therefore are distinct from lagoons, and are larger and deeper than ponds. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams,...

s, marsh
Marsh
In geography, a marsh, or morass, is a type of wetland that is subject to frequent or continuous flood. Typically the water is shallow and features grasses, rushes, reeds, typhas, sedges, other herbaceous plants, and moss....

es, and stream
Stream
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

s."

Breeding


Most American green tree frog females breed once per year, but some have multiple clutches
Clutch (eggs)
A clutch of eggs refers to all the eggs produced by birds or reptiles, often at a single time, particularly those laid in a nest.In birds, destruction of a clutch by predators, , results in double-clutching...

 in a single mating season. In a Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 population, "advertisement calls of males were documented between March and September and pairs in amplexus
Amplexus
Amplexus is a form of pseudocopulation in which a male amphibian grasps a female with his front legs as part of the mating process...

 were observed between April and August." In the Florida population, the average number of offspring in a single clutch was observed to be approximately 400 eggs
Egg (biology)
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...

. Eggs take between four and 14 days to hatch, with an average of five days. According to the Animal Diversity Web
Animal Diversity Web
Animal Diversity Web is an online database that collects the natural history, classification, species characteristics, conservation biology, and distribution information of thousands of species of animals...

 at the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of 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."

Breeding is known to be strongly influenced by day length, temperature, and precipitation." 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 increases. Some evidence demonstrates that the length of the breeding season length is correlated with latitude, with season length decreasing as latitude increases due to temperature limitations.

Males use a distinct advertisement call, "noticeably different than release or warning calls," to attract mates. Once a mate has been attracted, the pair begins amplexus, in which "the male tightly grasps onto the female to bring their cloacal
Cloaca
In zoological anatomy, a cloaca is the posterior opening that serves as the only such opening for the intestinal, reproductive, and urinary tracts of certain animal species...

 openings close together for fertilization." Males are polygynous
Mating system
A mating system is a way in which a group is structured in relation to sexual behaviour. The precise meaning depends upon the context. With respect to higher animals, it specifies which males mate with which females, under which circumstances; recognised animal mating systems include monogamy,...

, generally seeking to mate with as many females as they can attract.

American green tree frogs show no parental investment
Parental investment
In evolutionary biology, parental investment is any parental expenditure that benefits one offspring at a cost to parents' ability to invest in other components of fitness...

 except for mating and egg-laying.

Feeding


American green tree frogs are insectivore
Insectivore
An insectivore is a type of carnivore with a diet that consists chiefly of insects and similar small creatures. An alternate term is entomophage, which also refers to the human practice of eating insects....

s, usually consuming flies
Fly
True flies are insects of the order Diptera . They possess a pair of wings on the mesothorax and a pair of halteres, derived from the hind wings, on the metathorax...

, mosquito
Mosquito
Mosquitoes are members of a family of nematocerid flies: the Culicidae . The word Mosquito is from the Spanish and Portuguese for little fly...

es, and other small insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s. One study suggested that the frog selects prey not by its size, but according to its activity level, with the most active prey being the most frequently eaten. The same study showed that "nearly 90 percent of Hyla cinerea prey were actively pursued," with the other 10 percent being "insects walking or close enough to be snatched up by the frog's tongue."

As pets


The frogs are popular pets because of their small size, attractive looks 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
Vivarium
A vivarium is a usually enclosed area for keeping and raising animals or plants for observation or research...

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. Captive frogs should not be handled any more than necessary; when necessary, clean gloves should be worn.

External links


Database entry includes a range map and brief justification of why this species is of least concern