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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 cinerea
Hyla cinerea
(Green Treefrog)
Amphibians-Frogs
Native Transplant
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Hyla cinerea (Schneider, 1799)

Common name: Green Treefrog

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Hyla cinerea is a large hylid (treefrog) with a SVL (snout-vent length) of 32-64 mm (1.25-2.5 in) (Conant and Collins, 1998).  The dorsal color of adult frogs ranges from bright green, to nearly yellow, or even a dull greenish- or slate-gray (Ashton and Ashton, 1988; Conant and Collins, 1998).  Most, but not all, individuals have a white or yellow, lateral stripe that varies in length (Duellman and Schwartz, 1958; Conant and Collins, 1998; Powell et al., 1998).  Unlike Hyla gratiosa, the barking treefrog, the skin is not granular and the light stripe on the lip can be absent or often vaguely defined (Powell et al., 1998).  Small, light dorsal spots or flecks may be present on some individuals (Dundee and Rossman, 1989; Conant and Collins, 1998; Powell et al., 1998).  Like many arboreal hylids they have toepads (disks) for climbing (Conant and Collins, 1998; Powell et al., 1998).  The calls of males are a continuous, nasal "queenk-queenk-queenk" (Ashton and Ashton, 1988; Conant and Collins, 1998).  Recordings of the calls of H. cinerea are available on CDs by Elliott (1994), Library of Natural Sounds (1996), Bogert (1998), and Rivero (1998).  The tadpoles are green with a yellow or white stripe extending from each nostril to the eye (Ashton and Ashton, 1988), and may have mottled tail fins (Dundee and Rossman, 1989).  Identification can be made confusing by the fact that green treefrogs occasionally hybridize with Hyla gratiosa; the resulting hybrids exhibit an intermediate suite of characteristics (Dundee and Rossman, 1989; Bogert, 1998; Conant and Collins, 1998).  See the species account titled Hyla gratiosa LeConte, 1857 "1856" on this website.

Green treefrogs have been illustrated by a variety of authors (Duellman and Bell, 1955; Wright and Wright, 1949; Smith, 1961; Mount, 1975; Johnson, 1977, 1987, 2000; Ashton, 1978; Smith, 1978; Behler and King, 1979; Martof et al., 1980; Garrett and Barker, 1987; Ashton and Ashton, 1988; Black and Sievert, 1989; Dundee and Rossman, 1989; Lazell, 1989; Carmichael and Williams, 1991; Elliott, 1994; Bogert, 1998; Conant and Collins, 1998; Powell et al., 1998; Rivero, 1998; Bartlett and Bartlett, 1999a, b; Phillips et al., 1999; Minton, 2001).

Size: snout vent length of 32 - 64 mm

Native Range: Hyla cinerea is indigenous to Delaware and the entire Delmarva peninsula, southern and eastern Maryland, eastern Virginia, the Costal Plains in the states of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, all of Florida including some of the Keys, the lower Mississippi Valley and surrounding states of Mississippi, Louisiana, eastern, south and central Arkansas, southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, western Tennessee and Kentucky, eastern Texas, and portions of southeastern and extreme east-central Oklahoma (Duellman and Bell, 1955; Martof, 1956; Duellman and Schwartz, 1958; Smith, 1961; Lee, 1969; Harris, 1975; Mount, 1975; Stevenson, 1976; Johnson, 1977, 2000; Martof et al., 1980; Lohoefener and Altig, 1983; Tobey, 1985; Garrett and Barker, 1987; Ashton and Ashton, 1988; Moler, 1988; Black and Sievert, 1989; Carpenter and Krupa, 1989; Dundee and Rossman, 1989; Lazell, 1989; Carmichael and Williams, 1991; Gibbons and Semlitsch, 1991; Conant and Collins, 1998; Bartlett and Bartlett, 1999a, b; Duellman and Sweet, 1999; Phillips et al., 1999; Dixon, 2000; King, 2000; Meshaka et al., 2000; Seigel et al., 2002, Tucker et al., 2006). 

Minton (2001) suggests H. cinerea may eventually be discovered in Posey County, extreme southern Indiana, because an adjacent population occurs across the Ohio River in Henderson County, Kentucky (Lodato and Grannan, 1990).  Potentially, H. cinerea may exist in Mexico, along the Rio Grande River, adjacent to populations in Texas (Smith and Dixon, 1987; Smith and Smith, 1993). 

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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 cinerea are found here.

StateYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Arkansas199620162Middle White; Upper White
Kansas197419741Lower Kansas
Massachusetts199119911Charles
Missouri198219821Niangua
North Carolina201720171Lower Yadkin
Oklahoma197020172Bird; Lower Verdigris
Puerto Rico197520071Cibuco-Guajataca
Texas193020163Big Bend; South Laguna Madre; West Galveston Bay

Table last updated 3/29/2018

† Populations may not be currently present.


Means of Introduction: The H. cinerea found in Massachusetts was brought in on a shipment of plants (Cardoza et al., 1993).

The origin of the population of H. cinerea in Camden County, Missouri, was not stated (Johnson, 1987, 2000), but their association with aquaculture suggests that tadpoles could have been brought into the farming operation accidentally.  The same mode of transport is probably true for the green treefrogs introduced to Douglas County, Kansas (Collins, 1993).

The origin of the H. cinerea in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is unknown (B. Olsen, personal communication 2002) but they could have been brought in on ornamental plants added to Mohawk Park.

Conant (1977) postulated that H. cinerea could have been imported into Cameron County, Texas, for the pet trade.

No explanation is given for the means of introduction of green treefrogs to Puerto Rico (Schwartz and Thomas, 1975; Rivero, 1998; Thomas, 1999), but visitors to the Experimental Substation were undoubtedly involved.

Status: The H. cinerea in Massachusetts was collected; they are not established in this state (Cardoza et al., 1993).

The green treefrog population in Camden County, central Missouri, is established but remains confined to the private fish farm (Johnson, 2000).

The H. cinerea in Kansas have not been found since 1975, and were extirpated by cold winter weather (Collins, 1993).

The nonindigenous H. cinerea in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have not been seen in more than a decade and as of 2002 are extirpated (B. Olsen, personal communication 2002).

The well-established populations of H. cinerea in Cameron County, Texas, are now regarded as indigenous (Conant and Collins, 1998; Dixon, 2000), and can be found in nearby Hidalgo County, bordering the Rio Grande River (Dixon, 2000).  Perhaps preexisting populations of H. cinerea in Cameron County were augmented by introductions.

The status of green treefrogs in Puerto Rico is unclear (Rivero, 1998).  A variety of authors list H. cinerea as established in its limited area of introduction (Frost, 1985; Schwartz and Henderson, 1985, 1991; Conant and Collins, 1998; Hedges, 1999; Thomas, 1999); however, Rivero (1998) claims, "no specimen has been seen for years."

Impact of Introduction: Green treefrogs have had no impact on those areas in which they were not established (Massachusetts), or temporarily established (Kansas and Tulsa, Oklahoma).  The H. cinerea confined to the fish farm in Camden County, Missouri, have not spread from this anthropogenic habitat (Johnson, 1987, 2000); thus, they cannot have an impact on indigenous ecosystems.

The nonindigenous population of H. cinerea on Puerto Rico, should have had little impact on indigenous wildlife as they remained confined to their original area of introduction and currently could be extirpated (Rivero, 1998).

Remarks: The taxonomy of H. cinerea has been reviewed or summarized by Duellman and Schwartz (1958), Frost (1985, 2000), and Duellman and Sweet (1999).  Several authors have reviewed the natural history of green treefrogs (Wright and Wright, 1949; Duellman and Bell, 1955; Duellman and Schwartz, 1958; Ashton and Ashton, 1988; Gibbons and Semlitsch, 1991; Dundee and Rossman, 1989; Conant and Collins, 1998; Johnson, 2000).  Scientific and standard English names follow Crother (2008).

Green treefrogs are arboreal hylids that prefer willow clumps along waterways, mesic hammocks with ponds or lakes, and cypress swamps, while avoiding mangrove swamps and salt marshes (Duellman and Schwartz, 1958; Dundee and Rossman, 1989).  Hyla cinerea occasionally enters brackish water (Conant and Collins, 1998).  They typically utilize leaves, crevices, eaves of buildings, the undersides of bark or logs, axils of palm fronds, shaded branches, or any vertical surface for retreats (Duellman and Schwartz, 1958; Dundee and Rossman, 1989).  Their diet includes insects, snails, and spiders (Dundee and Rossman, 1989).  Unlike many other North American hylids, they may call from their perches in the absence of rain (Gibbons and Semlitsch, 1991; Conant and Collins, 1998).  Normally, H. cinerea mates in spring, summer, or as late as October in the far South (Duellman and Schwartz, 1958; Dundee and Rossman, 1989; Conant and Collins, 1998; Johnson, 2000).  From 340 to 500 eggs are laid as floating masses of 5 to 40, attached to vegetation at the water surface (Wright and Wright, 1949; Ashton and Ashton, 1988; Dundee and Rossman, 1989).  Tadpoles take about 2 months to metamorphose (Wright and Wright, 1949; Ashton and Ashton, 1988; Dundee and Rossman, 1989).

References: (click for full references)

Ashton, R. E., Jr. 1978. Identification manual to the amphibians and reptiles of Florida. Florida State Museum Associates, University of Florida, Interpretation Series (1):[1-41].

Ashton, R. E., Jr., and P. S. Ashton. 1988. Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida. Part Three. The Amphibians. Windward Publishing, Inc., Miami. 191 pp.

Bartlett, R. D., and P. P. Bartlett. 1999a. A Field Guide to Florida Reptiles and Amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston. 280 pp.

Bartlett, R. D., and P. D. Bartlett. 1999b. A Field Guide to Texas Reptiles and Amphibians. Gulf Publishing Company, Houston. 331 pp.

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.

Black, J. H., and G. Sievert. 1989. A Field Guide to Amphibians of Oklahoma. Nongame Wildlife Program, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma City. 80 pp.

Bogert, C. M. 1998. Sounds of North American Frogs. The Biological Significance of Voice in Frogs. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, D.C. Audio CD Recording.

Brown, B. C. 1950. An Annotated Check List of the Reptiles and Amphibians of Texas. Baylor University Studies, Waco. 259 pp.

Cardoza, J. E., G. S. Jones, T. W. French, and D. B. Halliwell. 1993. Exotic and Translocated Vertebrates of Massachusetts. Fauna of Massachusetts Series 6. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Westborough, Massachusetts. 106 pp.

Carmichael, P., and W. Williams. 1991. Florida's Fabulous Reptiles and Amphibians. World Publications, Tampa. 120 pp.

Carpenter, C. C., and J. J. Krupa. 1989. Oklahoma Herpetology. An Annotated Bibliography. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 258 pp.

Collins, J. T. 1993. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition, Revised. Museum of Natural History, The University of Kansas, Lawrence. 397 pp.

Conant, R. 1977. The Florida water snake (Reptilia, Serpentes, Colubridae) established at Brownsville, Texas, with comments on other herpetological introductions in the area. Journal of Herpetology 11(2):217-220.

Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1998. A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians. Eastern and Central North America. Third Edition, Expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 616 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.

Dixon, J. R. 2000. Amphibians and Reptiles of Texas. Second Edition. Texas A & M University Press, College Station. 421 pp.

Duellman, W. E., and L. N. Bell. 1955. The frogs and toads of the Everglades National Park. Everglades Natural History 3(2):102-113.

Duellman, W. E., and A. Schwartz. 1958. Amphibians and reptiles of southern Florida. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences 3(5):181-324.

Duellman, W. E., and S. S. Sweet. 1999. Distribution patterns of amphibians in the Nearctic Region of North America. Pp. 31-109. In: W. E. Duellman (editor). Patterns of Distribution of Amphibians. A Global Perspective. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 633 pp.

Dundee, H. A., and D. A. Rossman. 1989. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Louisiana. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge and London. 300 pp + unattached erratum.

Elliott, L. 1994. The Calls of Frogs and Toads. NatureSound Studio, NorthWood Press, Inc., Minocqua, Wisconsin. Audio CD Recording.

Ernst, C. H., S. C. Belfit, S. W. Sekscienski, and A. F. Laemmerzahl. 1997. The amphibians and reptiles of Ft. Belvoir and northern Virginia. Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society 33(1):1-62.

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.

Garrett, J. M., and D. G. Barker. 1987. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Texas. Texas Monthly Press, Austin. 225 pp.

Gibbons, J. W., and R. D. Semlitsch. 1991. Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of the Savannah River Site. The University of Georgia Press, Athens, Georgia, and London. 131 pp.

Harris, H. S., Jr. 1975. Distributional survey (Amphibia/Reptilia): Maryland and the District of Columbia. Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society 11(3):73-167.

Hedges, S. B. 1999. Distribution patterns of amphibians in the West Indies. Pp. 211-254. In: W. E. Duellman (editor). Patterns of Distribution of Amphibians. A Global Perspective. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. 633 pp.

Joglar, R. L. 1998. Los Coquíes de Puerto Rico. Su Historia Natural y Conservación. Editorial de las Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan. 232 pp.

Johnson, T. R. 1977. The amphibians of Missouri. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (6):i-x, 1-134.

Johnson, T. R. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation, Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, Jefferson City. 368 pp.

Johnson, T. R. 2000. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri. Revised and Expanded Second Edition. Missouri Department of Conservation, Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, Jefferson City. 400 pp.

King, F. W. 2000. Florida Museum of Natural History's Checklist of Florida Amphibians and Reptiles [online]. Available on URL: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herps/FL-GUIDE/Flaherps.htm. Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Lazell, J. D., Jr. 1989. Wildlife of the Florida Keys: A Natural History. Island Press, Washington, D.C. 250 pp.

Lee, D. S. 1969. The treefrogs of Florida. Florida Naturalist 42(3):117-120.

Library of Natural Sounds. 1996. Voices of the Night. The Calls of the Frogs and Toads of Eastern North America. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca. Audio CD Recording.

Lodato, M. J., and T. L. Grannan, Jr. 1990. Geographic distribution: Hyla cinerea (green treefrog). USA: Kentucky: Henderson Co. Herpetological Review 12(2): 37.

Lohoefener, R., and R. Altig. 1983. Mississippi herpetology. Mississippi State University Research Center Bulletin (1):i-vi, 1-66.

Martof, B. S. 1956. Amphibians and Reptiles of Georgia. University of Georgia Press, Athens, Georgia. 94 pp.

Martof, B. S., W. M. Palmer, J. R. Bailey, and J. R. Harrison III. 1980. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill. 264 pp.

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Minton, S. A., Jr. 2001. Amphibians & Reptiles of Indiana. Revised 2nd Edition. Indiana Academy of Science, Indianapolis. 404 pp.

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Olsen, B. 2002. Personal communication—Reptile Keeper, Tropical American Rainforest Building, Tulsa Zoo, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Schwartz, A., and R. Thomas. 1975. A check-list of West Indian amphibians and reptiles. Carnegie Museum of Natural History Special Publication (1):1-216.

Seigel, R. A., R. B. Smith, J. Demuth, L. M. Ehrhart, and F. F. Snelson, Jr. 2002. Amphibians and reptiles of the John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida: A long-term assessment of a large protected habitat (1975-2000). Florida Scientist 65(1):1-12.

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Smith, H. M., and J. R. Dixon. 1987 [1988]. The amphibians and reptiles of Texas: A guide to records needed for Mexico. Bulletin of the Maryland Herpetological Society 23(4):154-157.

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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.

Smith, P. A. 1961. The amphibians and reptiles of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 28(1):[i-v], 1-298. (Reprinted 1986.)

Stevenson, H. S. 1976. Vertebrates of Florida. Identification and Distribution. University Presses of Florida, Gainesville. 607 pp.

Thomas, R. 1999. The Puerto Rico area. Pp. 169-179. In: B. I. Crother (editor). Caribbean Amphibians and Reptiles. Academic Press, San Diego. 495 pp.

Tobey, F. J. 1985. Virginia's Amphibians and Reptiles: A Distributional Survey. Virginia Herpetological Society, Richmond and Purcellville. 114 pp.

Tucker, J. K. , J. T. Lamer and C. R. Dolan. 2006. Hyla cinerea. Herpetological Review 37(4): 488.

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Other Resources:
Frogs and Toads of Florida

Author: Somma, L.A.

Revision Date: 10/26/2009

Citation Information:
Somma, L.A., 2018, Hyla cinerea (Schneider, 1799): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=53, Revision Date: 10/26/2009, Access Date: 4/21/2018

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 [4/21/2018].

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