The Pine Woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis) is a small, slender frog of 1–1-½ inches in length and is commonly deep reddish brown in color, but may also be gray or greenish gray. It has grayish white, orange or yellow spots on its inner thighs, which is how it received its scientific name femoralis, which means “pertaining to the hind leg.” The markings on its back do not form an “X,” which is a distinguishing characteristic found on Spring Peepers.
Pine Woods Treefrogs are found in the southeastern Coastal Plain of Virginia, which forms the northern limit of its range. They live in pine and mixed pine-hardwood forest habitats and spend much of their time in trees. Sometimes described as “arboreal acrobats,” these frogs have been known to climb up to 30 feet high into the canopy of a tree! It’s also not uncommon to find them at night hanging around porch lights chasing insects. Pine Woods Treefrogs are particularly active after heavy summer rains.
This species breeds from April–September in grassy temporary pools, roadside ditches, cypress ponds, Carolina bays, flooded forests or swamps. The females deposit up to 2,000 eggs in clusters of 100 or more. Tadpoles may take up to 3 months to metamorphose.
The call of the Pine Woods Treefrog is a series of low pitched notes that sound like the dots and dashes of Morse Code. It also is occasionally described as “getta” or “get it” in rapid succession.
Call of the Pine Woods Treefrog:
This article is presented as part of our year-long Virginia is for Frogs campaign. Please visit the campaign webpage to learn more about Virginia’s 28 frog species and ways that you can become involved in their conservation. Are you an educator? Check out the Virginia is for Frogs Teacher’s Corner for frog-related lesson plans and activities.