Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Call of the Wild - Green Treefrog

The warmer temps and almost daily showers and thunderstorms of the past few weeks seem to have all the reptiles and amphibians on the move in central Carolina. This brilliant green treefrog seems to be hanging out in the shadows cast by the late afternoon sun, waiting for the cover of darkness to complete its descent from the canopy to an ephemeral pool nearby where others of its kind will gather. 

Surprisingly inconspicuous on the furrowed, gray, lichen-blotched skin of a gnarly old sourwood, this emerald-hued amphibian patiently waits for nightfall.

Large for a treefrog, this individual is distinguished not only by its bright green dorsum, but also by the yellowish-white stripe running down its side, its white belly, and the irregular smattering of golden spots on its back.

Hyla cinerea is generally larger and brighter green than the similar squirrel treefrog, and has much smoother skin than the largest of our green treefrogs, the barking treefrog.

Most of our treefrogs breed throughout the summer, so we'll keep our eyes and ears open for an opportunity to share a glimpse of the others, including the elusive pine barrens treefrog.

In the meantime, listen tonight for the insistent, hopeful "queenk, queenk" of the green treefrog, the call of the wild, just out back...

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