Hyla versicolor 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Amphibia Anura Hylidae

Scientific Name: Hyla versicolor
Species Authority: LeConte, 1825
Common Name(s):
English Gray Treefrog
Taxonomic Source(s): Frost, D.R. 2014. Amphibian Species of the World: an Online Reference. Version 6.0 (7 July 2014). Electronic Database. American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA. Available at:
Taxonomic Notes: This species is not distinguished from the very similar Hyla chrysoscelis in most published literature; it is distinguished by chromosomes, erythrocyte size (Matson 1990), and call characteristics.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-08-25
Assessor(s): IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group
Reviewer(s): Stuart, S.N.
Contributor(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Pelletier, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Angulo, A. & Sharp, D.
Listed as Least Concern in view of the large extent of occurrence, large number of sub-populations and localities, large population size and use of a wide range of habitats.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2014 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species' geographic range is not precisely determined, although it covers much of the eastern USA and southeastern Canada. It is sympatric with Hyla chrysoscelis in Wisconsin, south-central U.S., and probably many other areas. See Little et al. (1989) for distribution in West Virginia, southern Ohio, and southwestern Pennsylvania. See McAlpine et al. (1991) for information on distribution in eastern Maine and southwestern New Brunswick.
Countries occurrence:
Canada (Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, Québec); United States (Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The total adult population size is unknown but large and probably stable.
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs in various kinds of wooded and forested habitats. It is both arboreal and terrestrial. It hides in tree holes, under bark, in rotten logs, under leaves and under tree roots when inactive. Eggs and larvae develop in shallow woodland ponds and marshes, puddles, ponds in forest clearings, swamps, bogs and many other kinds of permanent or temporary waters lacking a significant current, including ponds created through excavation by humans. In northern Minnesota, successful reproduction in acidic bog water either does not occur or is a rare event (Karns 1992). In central Ontario, embryos and larvae exhibited a high degree of acid tolerance (J. Herpetol. 26:1-6).
Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade:

It is found in the pet trade, but this does not constitute a significant threat.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No major threats are known. Introduced Bluegill Sunfish might cause declines in larval tree frog abundance (Smith et al. 1999), and it is found in the pet trade.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions
This species occurs in many protected areas. No conservation measures are needed.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability: Suitable season: resident major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability: Suitable season: breeding major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.6. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability: Suitable season: breeding major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability: Suitable season: breeding major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.8. Wetlands (inland) - Seasonal/Intermittent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
suitability: Suitable season: breeding major importance:Yes
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.2. Artificial/Aquatic - Ponds (below 8ha)
suitability: Suitable season: breeding major importance:Yes
15. Artificial/Aquatic & Marine -> 15.5. Artificial/Aquatic - Excavations (open)
suitability: Suitable season: breeding major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

8. Invasive & other problematic species & genes -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species -> 8.1.2. Named species (Lepomis macrochirus)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

Bibliography [top]

Atlas des Amphibiens et des Reptiles du Québec. 2012. Available at:

Blackburn, L., Nanjappa, P. and Lannoo, M.J. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA.

Conant, R. and Collins, J.T. 1998. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern and Central North America. Third edition, Expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA, USA.

DeGraaf, R.M. and Rudis, D.D. 1983. Amphibians and Reptiles of New England: Habitats and Natural History. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, MA, USA.

Frost, D.R. 1985. Amphibian Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Allen Press and the Association of Systematic Collections, Lawrence, Kansas.

Gerhardt, H.C., Ptacek, M.B., Barnett, L. and Torke, K.G. 1994. Hybridization in the diploid-tetraploid treefrogs Hyla chrysoscelis and Hyla versicolor. Copeia: 51-59.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Jaslow, A.P. and Vogt, R.C. 1977. Identification and distribution of Hyla versicolor and Hyla chrysoscelis in Wisconsin. Herpetologica: 201-205.

Karns, D.R. 1992. Effects of acidic bog habitats on amphibian reproduction in a northern Minnesota peatland. Journal of Herpetology: 401-412.

Kiesecker, J.M. and Skelly, D.K. 2000. Choice of oviposition site by gray treefrogs: the role of potential parasitic infection. Ecology: 2939-2943.

Little, M.A., Monroe, B.L. Jr. and Wiley, J.E. 1989. The distribution of the Hyla versicolor complex in the northern Appalachian highlands. Journal of Herpetology: 299-303.

Matson, T.O. 1990. Erythrocyte size as a taxonomic character in the identification of Ohio Hyla chrysoscelis and H. versicolor. Herpetologica: 457-462.

McAlpine, D.F., Fletcher, T.J.S., Gorham, W. and Gorham, I.T. 1991. Distribution and habitat of the tetraploid gray treefrog, Hyla versicolor, in New Brunswick and eastern Maine. Canadian Field-Naturalist: 526-529.

Ralin, D.B., Romano, M.A. and Kilpatrick, C.W. 1983. The tetraploid treefrog Hyla versicolor: evidence for a single origin from the diploid H. chrysoscelis. Herpetologica: 212-225.

Smith, G.R., Rettig, J.E., Mittelbach, G.G., Valiulis, J.L. and Schaack, S.R. 1999. The effects of fish on assemblages of amphibians in ponds: a field experiment. Freshwater Biology: 829-837.

Vogt, R.C. 1981. Natural History of Amphibians and Reptiles of Wisconsin. Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, WI, USA.

Citation: IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group. 2015. Hyla versicolor. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T55687A78905520. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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