Pine Woods Treefrog
Hyla femoralis

Common Name:

Pine Woods Treefrog

Scientific Name:

Hyla femoralis

Etymology:

Genus:

Hyla is Greek and means "belonging to the woods"

Species:

femuralis is Latin meaning "pertaining to the hind leg" Referring to the leg markings found on this species.

Average Length:

1 - 1.5 in. (2.5 - 3.8 cm)

Virginia Record Length:

Record length:

1.8 in. (4.4 cm)

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: This is a slender hylid species reaching lengths of 25 to 38 mm (1-1.5 in). It is typically a reddish brown color with dark dorsal markings though color may range from pale gray to dark brown. A distinguishing characteristic is a group of small orange, yellow or whitish spots on the rear of the thigh *1014* *11407*. Breeding males have a very distinctive "dot-and-dash" call which has earned it the name of the "morse code" frog *11332* *1014* *11407*.

REPRODUCTION: This species breeds in late spring and summer in shallow ponds, ephemeral ditches, and sometimes in cypress swamps *11284* *1014*. Breeding males call from trees in standing water *1014*. The breeding call is a low, guttural "getta, getta" that resembles the dot-and-dash of morse code *1014* *11407*. Large choruses sound like a series of riveting machines operating simultaneously *11407*. The female lays films of 100-125 eggs on the water surface or just below on stems and other objects *1014*. Tadpoles metamorphose in 50 to 75 days. Young frogs are approximately 13mm long *1014*.

BEHAVIOR: This species is described as an "arboreal acrobat" *11407*. It frequently climbs high into the treetops but can also be found at lower levels and even on the ground *11407*. During the breeding period, males call from trees in standing water. This species hides during the day and overwinters beneath the bark of downed pine trees *11284*. Its diet consists of beetles and other insects. This species is the most terrestrial of the southeastern treefrog species.

ORIGIN: Native

LIMITING FACTORS: Typically found in pine flatwoods and savannas near bogs, ponds, and other wetlands *11407* *1014* *11284*. This species is occasionally found in hardwood forests and swamps *1014*.

POPULATION PARAMETERS:

AQUATIC/TERRESTRIAL ASSOCIATIONS: This species is found in pine flatwoods and savannas typically near bogs and ponds *11407* *1014*. It is occasionally found in hardwood forests and swamps *1014*. It is a Coastal Plain species *11332*. This species is the most terrestrial of the treefrog species, sometimes found far from standing water *11284*.

References for Life History

  • 1014 - Martof, B.S., Palmer, W.M., Bailey, J.R., Harrison, III J.R., 1980, Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, 264 pgs., UNC Press, Chapel Hill, NC
  • 11284 - Wilson, L.A., 1995, Land manager's guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the South, 360 pp. pgs., The Nature Conservancy, Southeastern Region, Chapel Hill, NC
  • 11332 - Mitchell, Joseph C. and Karen K. Reay, 1999, Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Virginia, Num. 1, 122 pgs., Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Richmond, VA
  • 11407 - Conant, Roger and, Collins, John T., 1998, Peterson Field Guide: Reptiles and Amphibians, Eastern/Central North America, 616 pgs., Houghton Mifflin Company;, Boston

Photos:

*Click on a thumbnail for a larger version.

Tadpole
City of Chesapeake
New Kent Co.
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FROGS

Virginia is home to 28 species of frogs and toads.

SALAMANDERS

We have a large diversity of salamanders consisting of 56 different species and subspecies.

LIZARDS

Virginia is home to 9 native lizard species and two introduced species, the Mediterranean Gecko and the Italian Wall Lizard.

SNAKES

The Commonwealth is home to 34 species and subspecies of snake. Only 3 species are venomous.

TURTLES

Virginia has 25 species and subspecies of turtle. Five of these species are sea turtle.