The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Hyla wrightorum
Hyla wrightorum
(Arizona Treefrog)
Native Transplant
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Hyla wrightorum Taylor, 1939

Common name: Arizona Treefrog

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Hyla wrightorum is a small hylid (treefrog) with a SVL (snout-vent length) only 19-56 mm (0.75-2.25 in) (Wright and Wright, 1949; Smith, 1978; Degenhardt et al., 1996; Stebbins, 2003).  The dorsal coloration of this distinctive treefrog is bright green, with a dark, lateral line on each side that may be broken into several segments as it extends posteriorly (Taylor, 1938; Wright and Wright, 1949; Behler and King, 1979; Degenhardt et al., 1996; Powell et al., 1998; Stebbins, 2003).  The posterior surfaces of the groin and thighs are orange or gold with a greenish tint (Degenhardt et al., 1996).  Toepads (disks) are present but small and toe webbing is highly reduced (Stebbins, 2003).  The call of male frogs is a series of short, low-pitched notes, sometimes produced as distinct, metallic clacks, or given as a trill (Blair, 1960; Sullivan, 1986; Davidson, 1996; Stebbins, 2003).  An audio CD recording of the calls of H. wrightorum is available from Davidson (1996).  Hyla wrightorum tadpoles are brown dorsally with minute silvery-gold flecks; dark ventrally and tinged pale gold (Stebbins, 2003).  The base of the tail may have dark specks (Degenhardt et al., 1996).

Size: snout-vent length of 19-56 mm

Native Range: Hyla wrightorum is indigenous to mountains in central Arizona and western New Mexico, U.S., an isolated population in the Huachuca Mountains, Cochise County, Arizona, and discontinuously south in Sierra Madre Occidental to Guerrero, Mexico (Smith and Smith, 1973, 1976, 1993; Smith, 1978; Behler and King, 1979; Frost, 1985; Williamson et al., 1994; Degenhardt et al., 1996; Stebbins, 2003).

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Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Hyla wrightorum are found here.

StateYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Arizona196619661Imperial Reservoir

Table last updated 3/29/2018

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Unknown; but Stebbins (1966) suggests this frog was escaped fish bait.

Status: Apparently this species failed to establish a population in Yuma County, Arizona, as it is no longer mapped there at this locality by Stebbins (1985, 2003).

Impact of Introduction: It is unclear if mountain treefrogs can impact the indigenous ecology of this southwestern county in Arizona.

Remarks: Taxonomic and nomenclatural summaries on H. wrightorum have been provided by Frost (1985, 2000), Sullivan (1986), Duellman (2001), Collins and Taggart (2002), Gergus et al, (2004), and extensive literature surveys by Smith and Smith (1973, 1976, 1993).  Many authorities once considered H. wrightorum a subspecies of Hyla eximia, but Gergus et al. (2004) have restored the full species status of this frog based on advertisement calls, allozymes, mtDNA, and morphology. The species H. eximia is restricted southern Mexico, especially Districo Federal (Gergus et al. 2004).  Scientific and standard English names follow Crother (2008).

Very little is known about the natural history of this montane species but some information has been summarized by Degenhardt et al. (1996) and Stebbins (2003).  Hyla wrightorum is a high-elevation, insectivorous, climbing frog, which occurs along streams, wet meadows and roadside ditches, in coniferous forests (Degenhardt et al., 1996; Stebbins, 2003).  Arizona Treefrogs breed in the summer and lay eggs in temporary or permanent ponds (Degenhardt et al., 1996).  The tadpoles are aquatic (Degenhardt et al., 1996; Stebbins, 2003).

The skin of H. wrightorum is toxic and can severely irritate the eyes of humans after handling (Degenhardt et al., 1996).

References: (click for full references)

Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York. 743 pp.

Blair, W. F. 1960. Mating call as evidence of relations in the Hyla eximia group. Southwestern Naturalist 5(3):129-135.

Collins, J. T., and T. W. Taggart. 2002. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians, Turtles, Reptiles & Crocodilians. Fifth Edition. The Center for North American Herpetology, Lawrence, Kansas.  44 pp.

Crother, B.I. (chair). Committee on Standard and English and Scientific Names. 2008. Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Society for the Study of Amphibians and  Reptiles Herpetological Circular. No. 37. iii + 86p.

Davidson, C. 1996. Frog and Toad Calls of the Rocky Mountains. Vanishing Voices. Library of Natural Sounds, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca. Audio CD Recording.

Degenhardt, W. G., C. W. Painter, and A. H. Price. 1996. Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 431 pp.

Duellman, W. E. 2001. The Hylid Frogs of Middle America. Expanded Edition. Contributions to Herpetology 18. Vols. 1 and 2. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, St. Louis. 1159 pp.

Frost, D. R. (editor). 1985. Amphibian Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographical Reference. Allen Press, Inc. and The Association of Systematics Collections. Lawrence, Kansas. 732 pp.

Frost, D. [R.] (compiler). 2000. Anura­—frogs. Pp. 6-17. In: B. I. Crother (chair), and Committee on Standard English and Scientific Names (editors). Scientific and standard English names of amphibians and reptiles of North America north of Mexico, with comments regarding confidence in our understanding. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles Herpetological Circular (29):i-iii, 1-82.

Gergus, E. W. A., T. W. Reeder, and B. K. Sullivan. 2004. Geographic variation in Hyla wrightorum: Advertisement calls, allozymes, mtDNA, and morphology. Copeia 2004(4):758-769.

Powell, R., J. T. Collins, and E. D. Hooper, Jr. 1998. A Key to Amphibians & Reptiles of the Continental United States and Canada. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence. 131 pp.

Smith, H. M. 1978. A Guide to Field Identification. Amphibians of North America. Golden Press, New York. 160 pp.

Smith, H. M., and R. B. Smith. 1973. Synopsis of the Herpetofauna of Mexico. Volume II. Analysis of the Literature Exclusive of the Mexican Axolotl. John Johnson Natural History Books, North Bennington, Vermont. 367 pp.

Smith, H. M., and R. B. Smith. 1976. Synopsis of the Herpetofauna of Mexico. Volume IV. Source Analysis and Index for Mexican Amphibians. John Johnson, North Bennington, Vermont. 15 pp. + A-G.

Smith, H. M., and R. B. Smith. 1993. Synopsis of the Herpetofauna of Mexico. Volume VII. Bibliographic Addendum IV and Index, Bibliographic Addenda II-IV, 1979-1991. University Press of Colorado, Niwot, Colorado. 1082 pp.

Stebbins, R. C. 1966. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 279 pp.

Stebbins, R. C. 1985. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Second Edition, Revised. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 336 pp.

Stebbins, R. C. 2003. A Field Guide to Western Reptiles and Amphibians. Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 533 pp.

Sullivan, B. K. 1986. Advertisement call variation in the Arizona tree frog, Hyla wrightorum Taylor, 1938. Great Basin Naturalist 46(2):378-381.

Taylor, E. H. 1938. Frogs of the Hyla eximia group in Mexico, with descriptions of two new species. University of Kansas Science Bulletin 25(19):421-445.

Williamson, M. A., P. W. Hyder, and J. S. Applegarth. 1994. Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, Frogs, Toads and Salamanders of New Mexico. Sunstone Press, Santa Fe. 176 pp.

Wright, A. H., and A. A. Wright. 1949. Handbook of Frogs and Toads of the United States and Canada. Third Edition. Cornell University Press, Ithaca and London. 640 pp.


Author: Somma, L.A.

Revision Date: 10/26/2009

Citation Information:
Somma, L.A., 2018, Hyla wrightorum Taylor, 1939: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=54, Revision Date: 10/26/2009, Access Date: 4/22/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [4/22/2018].

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