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Frog Friday: Pine Woods Treefrog

An image of a pine woods treefrog on a stick

Pine Woods treefrog © Jeff Beane

The Pine Woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis) is a small, slender frog of 1–1-½ inches in length and is commonly deep reddish brown in color, but may also be gray or greenish gray. It has grayish white, orange or yellow spots on its inner thighs, which is how it received its scientific name femoralis, which means “pertaining to the hind leg.” The markings on its back do not form an “X,” which is a distinguishing characteristic found on Spring Peepers.

Inner thigh markings of the Pine woods treefrog

Inner thigh markings of the Pine woods treefrog © John White

Pine Woods Treefrogs are found in the  southeastern Coastal Plain of Virginia, which forms the northern limit of its range. They live in pine and mixed pine-hardwood forest habitats and spend much of their time in trees. Sometimes described as “arboreal acrobats,” these frogs have been known to climb up to 30 feet high into the canopy of a tree!  It’s also not uncommon to find them at night hanging around porch lights chasing insects. Pine Woods Treefrogs are particularly active after heavy summer rains.

This species breeds from April till September in grassy temporary pools, roadside ditches, cypress ponds, Carolina bays, flooded forests and swamps. The females deposit up to two thousand eggs in clusters of a hundred or more. Tadpoles may take up to three months to metamorphose.

A range map showing the range of the pine woods treefrog

The range map of the Pine Woods treefrog

The call of the Pine Woods Treefrog is a series of low pitched notes that sound like the dots and dashes of Morse Code. It also is occasionally described as “getta” or “get it” in rapid succession.

Call of the Pine Woods Treefrog:

  • November 20, 2015