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Tree frog

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Tree frog
Redeyedfrog.jpg
Scientific Classification
Subfamilies & Genera

Subfamily: Pelodryadinae

  • Litoria
  • Nyctimystes
  • Pelodryas

Subfamily: Phyllomedusinae

  • Agalychnis
  • Cruziohyla
  • Hylomantis
  • Pachymedusa
  • Phasmahyla
  • Phrynomedusa
  • Phyllomedusa

Subfamily: Hylinae

  • Acris
  • Anotheca
  • Aparasphenodon
  • Aplastodiscus
  • Argenteohyla
  • Bokermannohyla
  • Bromeliohyla
  • Charadrahyla
  • Corythomantis
  • Dendropsophus
  • Duellmanohyla
  • Ecnomiohyla
  • Exerodonta
  • Hyla
  • Hyloscirtus
  • Hypsiboas
  • Isthmohyla
  • Itapotihyla
  • Lysapsus
  • Megastomatohyla
  • Myersiohyla
  • Osteocephalus
  • Nyctimantis
  • Osteopilus
  • Phyllodytes
  • Plectrohyla
  • Pseudacris
  • Pseudis
  • Ptychohyla
  • Scarthyla
  • Scinax
  • Smilisca
  • Sphaenorhynchus
  • Tepuihyla
  • Trachycephalus
  • Tlalocohyla
  • Triprion
  • Xenohyla

Tree frogs are any of the species of frogs belonging to the taxonomic family Hylidae. As their name indicates, they are perfectly designed for arboreal life. They have slender lightweight bodies and long toes with sticky toe pads that help them climb in trees and cling to branches and leaves. They also have extra cartilage between the last two bones of each toe that makes their toes more flexible.

Tree frogs come in a variety of sizes and colors. Most species live in trees, but there are some species that spend most of their time on the ground and some species that spend most of their time in the water. Most species eat insects, but some larger species may eat small vertebrates.

Body Design

Tree frogs have pads at the ends of their fingers and toes. These pads help in climbing because they are rough and are covered with a sticky secretion. Some tree frogs have claw-shaped fingers and toes, and most kinds have webbed hands, webbed feet, or both. Many tree frogs can change color, usually to match their surroundings. As winter approaches, tree frogs burrow into the humus on the forest floor. Their tissues and body fluids are protected from freezing by glycerol, a type of alcohol made in the frogs' cells. [1]

Due to their small size, the tree frog has numerous predators wherever it lives in the world. Birds, mammals and reptiles of all shapes and sizes prey on the tree frog and the tree frog is also known to be a tasty tree for large fish. [2]

Life Cycle

A picture showing the life cycle of a frog.

Reproduction usually takes place during the rainy season, which is October to March. Courtship is initiated by croaking and quivering. These frogs reproduce by the process called amplexus. This is common for frogs. Males attach themselves to the backs of females when the female's eggs are mature. The male fertilizes the eggs as they emerge from the female. He will not leave until all of the eggs have been laid, usually 30 - 50 pale eggs. This process may last for a day or longer. Reproduction takes place on the underside of leaves. The female must hold on with her suction cup toes. She is now holding on for the weight of both frogs. As each clutch emerges from the female she must enter the water and fill her bladder with water. If she does not, the next clutch of eggs to emerge will dry up and die. [3]

When the females enter the water, it's like entering a war zone for the male, who is still attached to her back. If other males see the couple, they may try to fight the male off of the female and take his place. If they succeed, they get the chance to fertilize some eggs. Most frog species lay their eggs in the water. [4]

The tree frog lays them on the underside of leaves that hang over a body of water. The egg clutches develop into tadpoles quickly. Tadpoles swim around in their egg cases until they burst open. This rupturing of all the eggs occurs within a one-minute time frame. The fluid that is released with the tadpoles helps to wash them down the leaf and into the water. Tadpoles metamorphose into tree frogs after 75 - 80 days. [5]

Ecology

A distribution map of the family Hylidae.

Hylidae is an extremely large and diverse family of tree frogs. It contains four subfamilies, approximately 38 genera, and over 700 species. Members of Hylidae can be found all over the world, with hylids located throughout temperate North America and the neotropics, including the Caribbean islands. Hylids are also widespread in Australia and Papua New Guinea. The genus Hyla is found in temperate Eurasia, Japan, and the northern tip of Africa.

Hylids usually feed on insects and other invertebrates, but some larger species can feed on small vertebrates.[6]

Defense Against Predators

The neon-green bodies of certain red-eyed tree frogs may play a similar role in thwarting predators. Many of the animals that eat red-eyed tree frogs are nocturnal hunters that use keen eyesight to find prey. The shocking colors of this frog may over-stimulate a predator's eyes, creating a confusing ghost image that remains behind as the frog jumps away. [7]

Video

This is a video giving people a look at the red-eyed tree frog.

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Tree frog

References

  1. New Hampshire Public Telesvision [1]Gray Tree Frog. Web. Date-of-access February-12-2013.
  2. Red-Eyed Tree Frog National Geographic. Web. Accessed February 12 2013. Author unknown.
  3. How Stuff Works [2]Tree Frog. Web. Date-of-access February-12-2013.
  4. How Stuff Works [3]Tree Frog. Web. Date-of-access February-12-2013.
  5. New Hampshire Public Television [4]Gray Tree Frog. Web. Date-of-access February-12-2013.
  6. Heather Heying[5]Hylidae. Web. Date-of-Access February-12-2013.
  7. Rainforest Alliance[6]Red-Eyed Tree Frog. Web. Date-of-Publication 2002.