Cope's Treefrog: Hyla chrysoscelis

Common name: Cope’s Treefrog
Scientific name: (Hyla chrysoscelis)
Classification name: Treefrog

Description: Cope’s Gray Treefrog looks identical to the Gray Treefrog. The two species can only be distinguished from each other by their calls. They have rough, green, brown or gray skin with large darker blotches on the back. Like many treefrogs, they have large toe-pads. The two species can be distinguished from other frogs by the dark-edged light spot under the eyes and by bright yellow-orange colouration under the thighs. Adults may reach 6 cm.

Call The call of Cope’s Gray Treefrog is a faster, higher pitched trill than the Gray Treefrog. It is similar to that of the American Toad but is much shorter. It has more trill than that of a Wood Frog.

Confusing Species: Other treefrogs found in their range are the Spring Peeper, Boreal Chorus Frog, Western Chorus Frog and the Northern Cricket Frog. The Spring Peeper has a large, dark X on its back while the Chorus Frogs have three stripes down the back. The Northern Cricket Frog, limited only to Pelee Island in southern Ontario, has a dark triangle between the eyes and less distinct markings on the back than the other three species.

Distributions: In Canada, Cope’s Gray Treefrog is found only in southeastern Manitoba and one site in extreme western Ontario where it was recently discovered. The Gray Treefrog overlaps that range and is found in southern Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick as well. It is also found in the eastern half of the United States as far south as northern Florida and Texas.

Habitat: These treefrogs may be found on trees and shrubs near permanent water. They prefer mature or second growth woodlands although they may also inhabit orchards. They are rarely seen outside the breeding season.

Reproduction: Breeding occurs in late spring and early summer. During the day they remain in trees around the breeding pond. In the evening, males call from trees and shrubs but enter the pond after finding a mate. Up to 2000 eggs are laid in small clusters of 10-40 attached to vegetation. Eggs hatch within five days and tadpoles metamorphose 40 – 60 days after hatching.

Natural History: The Gray Treefrog is a tetraploid form of Cope’s Gray Treefrog, which is to say that it is genetically the same but has four copies of each chromosome instead of the usual two copies. Cope’s Gray Treefrog is a true tree frog; it can be found at the top of even the tallest trees. They overwinter under leaf litter and snow cover and can survive being frozen solid. Cope’s Gray Treefrogs are sometimes found on the walls outside a building where there is a light that attracts insects. Like some other treefrogs it is freeze tolerant.

Conservation Concerns: Neither species is believed to be declining.