Green Treefrog

Hyla cinerea
Family

Hylidae (treefrogs and allies) in the order Anura (frogs)

Description

The green treefrog has round adhesive pads on all digits. This frog’s coloration is normally bright, light green, but in cool weather it may be dark green. There is always a white or pale yellow stripe running from the upper lip down along the sides. Some yellow spots may also be present on the back. The belly is white or yellowish. Call is a measured, nasal “quank, quank, quank” series, normally not heard until after sundown. The call is a noticeable part of the nighttime sounds of our cypress swamps.

Similar species: Missouri has two other treefrog species, both of which are quite similar to one another: the gray treefrog (H. versicolor) and Cope’s gray treefrog (H. chrysoscelis). Unlike the green treefrog, these are both gray and, counted together, are found statewide.

Size

Body length: 1¼ to 2¼ inches.

FG-0051_Frog_Green-Tree.mp4

Video of a green treefrog in the wild.

American green tree frog

A vivid green frog with a yellow stripe is perched on a tree branch.
green tree frog at Big Oak Tree State Park in Mississippi County
Habitat and conservation

Lives in the last remaining cypress swamps, sloughs, and oxbow lakes of southeastern Missouri. Green treefrogs hide camouflaged in the green leaves of cattails during the day and become active at night when they hunt. Much of this species’ habitat has been destroyed. It is important to preserve large areas of remaining swamps, so this species can remain a part of our state’s natural wildlife heritage.

Foods

On warm nights, this frog climbs among vegetation in search of insects.

image of Green Treefrog Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri

Natural range includes the Mississippi Lowlands in southeastern Missouri, along with an introduced population in Camden County.

Status

The populations in Missouri’s Bootheel represent the northwestern limit of the green treefrog’s total range. Much of this species’ preferred habitat has been destroyed.

Life cycle

Males chorus in the evenings from May to early August; together, they sound something like distant Canada geese. Egg-laying likely occurs in June or early July. Females lay 500–1,000 eggs and often produce more than one clutch per season. Eggs hatch in 2–3 days, and the tadpoles transform into froglets between late June and early September. Green treefrogs overwinter under logs and leaf litter in swamps.

Human connections

This attractive frog is the official state amphibian of Georgia and Louisiana, and it is a popular pet sold at pet stores.

Ecosystem connections

This frog eats insects, which helps to keep those populations in check. On the other hand, this frog becomes food for other predators such as birds, snakes, and mammals.