Recognized Subspecies in VA: None
Size: 1.25 - 2.25 inches
Range: Eastern Virginia
Status: Least Concern
Green Treefrogs are a common species in the eastern parts of our state. That said, they are definitely expanding their range westward, which is thought to be impart due to the reestablishment of the beaver pond. Though they can live in swamps, it seems they prefer to breed in marshes and grassy or brushy parts of mill ponds, lakes, and beaver ponds. We even find them in corn and soybean fields when road cruising on wet nights. This species, as well as the Squirrel Treefrog, seems incredibly adept at hitchhiking on greenhouse plants, bags of mulch and soil, vehicles, boats, and almost anything else they can hide in. This species shows up often at State Parks well outside their normal range due to this, and often ride in on one RV and leave on another. I have seen a couple short-term populations pop-up here and there in Lunenburg and Nottoway Counties due to this behavior.
This frog gets its name from its skin color… I know you are saying, “Well duh…” but it’s Latin name “cinereus” means “ash-colored”. This comes from when the first Euro-American Naturalists were here, they had no labs in America, so they would have to ship all new specimens to Europe to be described. As with Rough Greensnakes, yellow pigments fade within hours of death, causing these specimens to arrive as a blue-gray color to Europe weeks or months later. If it was not for American Naturalist noting that the specimens were green, we probably would not have understood this pigment loss until much later. That said, Green Treefrogs can be brown at times, but even blue individuals are not overly rare. Some living specimens just lack the yellow pigments altogether, making them blue.
Similar Species: Squirrel Treefrogs are quite similar, but they are shorter and less lanky as the Green Treefrog. Greens are very clean looking frogs, often having a defined, cream, white, or golden line from the lip down the side with green below this line. Squirrels may have a similar line at times, but it is much duller, and dingy with the pattern on the flanks overlapping into the line. Greens may also have some gold flakes on the back, which Squirrels should lack, while Squirrels may have dark spots on the back that Greens will lack. Squirrels often have orangey toe pads and sometimes orangey feet. If you are not sure, Squirrels will have gold markings on their inner thighs that Greens will lack. Some mistake the Barking Treefrog as well, but Barkers are big, stocky, have wide heads with huge eyes, and more granular (textured) skin. The species in the Gray Treefrog complex are sometimes green as well, but they are very different in build and pattern.
Calls are a squeaky "Quirk".
Maps and External Sources
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