Recognized Subspecies in VA: None
Size: 1.25 - 2 inches
Status: Least Concern
Let us start by saying these are two identical species that are both common in the state. Anywhere someone is in the state, they could find one or both of these species. The only four ways to identify these two are by genetics (Grays are triploid having three sets of chromosomes), dissecting the throats of the males (let's not kill frogs to identify them), range maps (in some cases), or by their call (also only works on males). These species breed April - August, and seek fishless pools and puddles of water to lay eggs. Cope's often prefer pines and cypress, while Grays prefer oaks and other hardwoods. Both are often found in mixed forests. They can often be found by road cruising wet nights, and following the calls of their chorus. Sometime they can be found during the day, hiding under bark, leaves, or any man made vertical surfaces with a bit of cover. They enjoy swimming pools as well.
Both species' bumpy skin can be gray to brown, sometimes green, often with large green, brown, or dark gray blotches. They have yellow patches, concealed by their legs. As with all Holarctic Treefrogs, they have very large toe-pads.
Similar Species: These species can be confused for the rare Barking Treefrog, but the Barker will lack the white, silver, or creamy "tear" under the eye. Pine Woods Treefrogs are smaller, slimmer, and also lack the "tear".
Both make steady trills, but Cope's have a quicker, more direct call, with over 50 trills per second; while Grays have a more of a lazier call, often with under 35 trills. Both species will do a whiny "bark" as well sometimes when calling.
Maps and External Sources
Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor)
*There are a lot of misidentified reports on the Gray Treefrog iNat map. Please pay more attention to the blue counties than individual dots.*
Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis)
Herping Virginia encourages all naturalists to practice ethical, safe, and sustainable herping. The use of proper herping methods and techniques is beneficial to both wildlife and herpers. Visit the links below for more information.