Dryophytes versicolor - (LeConte, 1825)
Gray Treefrog
Other English Common Names: Grey Treefrog, Northern Gray Treefrog, gray treefrog
Synonym(s): Hyla versicolor LeConte, 1825
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Hyla versicolor LeConte, 1825 (TSN 173503)
French Common Names: rainette versicolore
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102087
Element Code: AAABC02130
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Frogs and Toads
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Anura Hylidae Dryophytes
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B85FRO01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Hyla versicolor
Taxonomic Comments: Hyla versicolor was not distinguished from look-alike species H. chrysoscelis in most historical literature; it can be distinguished by chromosomes, erythrocyte size (Matson 1990), and call characteristics. Based on molecular markers and advertisement calls, Holloway et al. (2006) determined that Hyla versicolor is a tetraploid species that originated multiple times through interbreeding of extant diploid gray tree frogs and two other, apparently extinct, lineages of tree frogs. Tetraploid lineages then merged through interbreeding to form a single species.

Duellman et al. (2016) removed this species from the genus Hyla and included it (and all other U.S./Canada species of Hyla, as well as additional Hyla species in Mexico, Guatemala, and eastern Asia) in the genus Dryophytes (previously recognized as a subgenus).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 02Feb2016
Global Status Last Changed: 26Oct2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large range in eastern United States and southeastern Canada; abundant; many secure populations.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (02Feb2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arkansas (S5), Connecticut (S5), Delaware (S4), District of Columbia (S4), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S4), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S4), Kansas (S4), Kentucky (S2S3), Louisiana (S4), Maine (S4), Maryland (S5), Massachusetts (S5), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (S5), Mississippi (SNR), Missouri (S5), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (S5), New York (S5), North Carolina (S2S3), North Dakota (S4), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S4?), Pennsylvania (S4), Rhode Island (S5), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (S2), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Vermont (S5), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5), Wisconsin (S5)
Canada Manitoba (S4S5), New Brunswick (S4), Ontario (S5), Quebec (S4)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Low) (26Jan2015)
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Range includes southeastern Canada from southern Manitoba to New Brunswick (Weller 2002), and southward through the northeastern and south-central United States to North Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, eastern Texas, and southwestern Louisiana, and west to North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, eastern Kansas, and eastern Oklahoma (Little et al. 1989, McAlpine et al. 1991, Holloway et al. 2006).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout most of the range.

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 100,000.

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Introduced bluegill sunfish may cause declines in larval treefrog abundance (Smith et al. 1999).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)

Long-term Trend: Decline of <50% to Relatively Stable
Long-term Trend Comments: Likely relatively stable in extent of occurrence, unknown degree of decline in population size, area of occurrence, and number/condition of occurrences.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Range includes southeastern Canada from southern Manitoba to New Brunswick (Weller 2002), and southward through the northeastern and south-central United States to North Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee, eastern Texas, and southwestern Louisiana, and west to North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, eastern Kansas, and eastern Oklahoma (Little et al. 1989, McAlpine et al. 1991, Holloway et al. 2006).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AR, CT, DC, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada MB, NB, ON, QC

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
KY Boyd (21019), Breckinridge (21027), Greenup (21089), Hardin (21093), Meade (21163), Warren (21227)
NC Caswell (37033), Person (37145), Warren (37185)
ND Ransom (38073), Richland (38077)*
SD Bon Homme (46009)*, Clay (46027)*, Day (46037), Marshall (46091), Roberts (46109), Union (46127)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Middle Roanoke (03010102)+*, Lower Dan (03010104)+, Roanoke Rapids (03010106)+
05 Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103)+, Little Sandy (05090104)+, Upper Green (05110001)+, Barren (05110002)+, Rough (05110004)+, Blue-Sinking (05140104)+
07 Upper Minnesota (07020001)+
09 Western Wild Rice (09020105)+*, Lower Sheyenne (09020204)+
10 Lewis and Clark Lake (10170101)+*, Vermillion (10170102)+*, Middle Big Sioux Coteau (10170201)+, Lower Big Sioux (10170203)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: This species is essentially identical to Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). The upper side has numerous small warts and is usually green (especially juveniles) to gray and often has a pattern that resembles lichens that grow on tree trunks. There is a light spot under each eye. The groin and concealed bases of the hind legs are orange-yellow with black mottling. Maximum size is about 2.5 inches (6 cm) snout-vent length. Breeding male can be recognized by their darl loose throat skin. Breeding calls are loud slow trills (often mistaken for a woodpecker's call), with pulses slower than in Cope's gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis). Larvae have strongly arched tails fins that may be heavily mottled with black and often tinged red or orange, and (if not broken) ending in a slender filament. Larvae reach a total length of up to around 1.5 inches (3.8 cm). Egg masses contain clusters of about 6-45 eggs, floating free or loosely attached to submerged vegetation.
Reproduction Comments: Breeding occurs in spring or summer, beginning as early as March in the southern part of the range and usually in May in the north Females deposit clutches of up to about 2,000 eggs, distributed among several small clusters. Aquatic larvae hatch in a few days and metamorphose within 2 months.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Seasonally these frogs migrate up to several hundred meters between nonbreeding terrestrial habitats and breeding pools.
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND, TEMPORARY POOL
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Suburban/orchard, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris, Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: Gray treefrogs inhabit various kinds of wooded and forested habitats and may occur on the ground or more often in shrubs or trees. Inactive individuals may be in tree holes, under bark, in rotten logs, under leaves, and under tree roots.Breeding sites include shallow woodland ponds and marshes, puddles, ponds in forest clearings, swamps, bogs, and many other kinds of permanent or temporary, natural or human-created waters lacking a significant current. In northern Minnesota, successful reproduction in acidic bog water either does not occur or is a rare event (Karns 1992). In central Ontario, embryos and larvae exhibited high degree of acid tolerance (J. Herpetol. 26:1-6). The presence of snails (which may harbor trematodes that infect frogs) may influence choice of oviposition site by H. versicolor (Kiesecker and Skelly 2000).
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Metamorphosed frogs eat various small invertebrates obtained on the ground and in vegetation. Larvae eat suspended matter, organic debris, algae, and plant tissue.
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Hibernates/aestivates, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: These treefrogs are inactive during the colder months of fall through early spring. Most activity occurs at dusk and at night, especially in wet weather.
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 6 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Hylid Frogs (Treefrogs)

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including larvae or eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Busy major highway such that frogs rarely if ever cross successfully; intensive urban development dominated by buildings and pavement and lacking suitable vegetated frog refuges.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Available information is limited but indicates that hylids generally exhibit limited movements on a short-term basis. In New Jersey, Freda and Morin (1984) and Freda and Gonzalez (1986) demonstrated that individual Hyla andersonii often travel distances of 100 m from breeding ponds during the nonbreeding season. In montane Colorado, Spencer (1964) found that Pseudacris triseriata range into wet meadows usually within about 700 m of their breeding sites and sometimes cross a few hundred meters of upland habitat. Kay (1989) determined that most Pseudacris cadaverina individuals range over small segments of streamcourse; 83 percent of movements were less than 25 m in a 1-year study. In Michigan, nonbreeding home range diameters of Pseudacris crucifer, established around forest debris and vegetation, ranged from 1.2 to 5.5 m (Delzell 1958).

Based on this information it appears that 1 km is an appropriate separation distance for unsuitable habitat. Despite limited data suggesting restricted movements, dispersal data are scant, and these frogs are clearly physically capable of long moves. It seems unlikely that occupied locations separated by a gap of less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent occurrences over the long term.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .5 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Inferred extent distance pertains to distance from breeding sites.
Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 26Jan2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Jan2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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