Dryophytes versicolor (LeConte, 1825)

Class: Amphibia > Order: Anura > Family: Hylidae > Subfamily: Hylinae > Genus: Dryophytes > Species: Dryophytes versicolor

Hyla verrucosa Daudin in Sonnini de Manoncourt and Latreille, 1801 "An. X", Hist. Nat. Rept., 2: 186. Holotype: MNHNP according to the original publication, and presumably that figured on pl. 4, fig. 1 of Daudin, 1802 "An. XI", Hist. Nat. Rain. Gren. Crap., Quarto: adjacent to page 20. Type locality: Unknown. Considered a possible senior synonym of Hyla versicolor by Boulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Sal. Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 372.

Calamita verrucosusMerrem, 1820, Tent. Syst. Amph.: 172.

Hyla versicolor LeConte, 1825, Ann. Lyc. Nat. Hist. New York, 1: 281. Type(s): Not designated; likely originally deposited in ANSP or USNM or Philadelphia Mus., now presumed lost; AMNH 84483 designated neotype by Smith, Fitzgerald, and Guillette, 1992, Bull. Zool. Nomencl., 49: 152, and Opinion 1716, Anonymous, 1993, Bull. Zool. Nomencl., 50: 94. Type locality: "Northern States"; restricted to "vicinity of New York, New York", USA, by Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 73. Neotype is from "Alpine, Bergen County, New Jersey", USA. Placed on the Official List of Specific Names in Zoology by Opinion 1716, Anonymous, 1993, Bull. Zool. Nomencl., 50: 94.

Dendrohyas versicolorTschudi, 1838, Classif. Batr.: 33, 75.

Dryophytes versicolorFitzinger, 1843, Syst. Rept.: 31.

Hyla richardii Baird, 1854, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 7: 60. Holotype: Not stated; MCZ 2128, according to Barbour and Loveridge, 1929, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., 69: 280. Type locality: "Cambridge, [Essex County,] Massachusetts", USA. Synonymy by Cope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 373. Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 339, cite the original publication as 1856 in error; see Fox, 1913, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, Index, 1812–1912: vii–xiv. 

Hyla versicolor phaeocrypta Cope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 375. Holotype: USNM 12074 by original designation. Type locality: "Mount Carmel, [Wabash County,] Ill[inois].", USA. Synonymy by Viosca, 1928, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 41: 89; Smith, 1953, Herpetologica, 9: 169. Considered a senior synonym of Hyla avivoca by Mittleman, 1945, Copeia, 1945: 31.

Hyla versicolor versicolorCope, 1889, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 34: 375.

Hyla phaeocrypta phaeocryptaNeill, 1948, Herpetologica, 4: 175.

Hyla (Dryophytes) versicolor — Fouquette and Dubois, 2014, Checklist N.A. Amph. Rept.: 338. 

Dryophytes versicolor — Duellman, Marion, and Hedges, 2016, Zootaxa, 4104: 23. 

English Names

Northern Tree-toad (De Kay, 1842, Zool. New York, 1(3): 71).

Changeable Tree-toad (Wood, 1863, Illust. Nat. Hist., 3: 171).

Chameleon Hyla (Yarrow, 1882, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 24: 24).

Chameleon Tree Frog (Hay, 1892, Annu. Rep. Dept. Geol. Nat. Res. Indiana for 1891: 464; Strecker, 1915, Baylor Univ. Bull., 18: 49).

Common Tree Toad (Storer, 1840, Boston J. Nat. Hist., 3: 48; Jordan, 1878, Man. Vert. North. U.S., Ed. 2: 189; Davis and Rice, 1883, Bull. Chicago Acad. Sci., 1: 28; Fowler, 1907, Annu. Rep. N.J. State Mus. for 1906: 112).

Common Tree Frog (Rhoads, 1895, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia, 47: 405; Dickerson, 1906, The Frog Book: 117; Brimley, 1907, J. Elisha Mitchell Sci. Soc., 23: 158; Wright and Wright, 1933, Handb. Frogs Toads U.S. Canada: x; Carr, 1940, Univ. Florida Biol. Sci. Ser., 3: 61).

Dusky Tree Toad (Wright and Wright, 1933, Handb. Frogs Toads U.S. Canada: x).

Rain Toad (Stejneger and Barbour, 1933, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 3: 36).

Eastern Common Tree Frog (Viosca, 1949, Pop. Sci. Bull., Louisiana Acad. Sci., 1: 10).

Gray Tree Frog (Schmidt, 1953, Check List N. Am. Amph. Rept., Ed. 6: 73).

Eastern Gray Treefrog (Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 176; Collins and Taggart, 2009, Standard Common Curr. Sci. Names N. Am. Amph. Turtles Rept. Crocodil., ed. 6: 7).

Gray Treefrog (Conant, Cagle, Goin, Lowe, Neill, Netting, Schmidt, Shaw, Stebbins, and Bogert, 1956, Copeia, 1956: 176; Collins, Huheey, Knight, and Smith, 1978, Herpetol. Circ., 7: 11; Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 58; Collins, 1997, Herpetol. Circ., 25: 12; Crother, Boundy, Campbell, de Queiroz, Frost, Highton, Iverson, Meylan, Reeder, Seidel, Sites, Taggart, Tilley, and Wake, 2001 "2000", Herpetol. Circ., 29: 10; Frost, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2008, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 37: 6; Frost, McDiarmid, Mendelson, and Green, 2012, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 39: 15; Frost, Lemmon, McDiarmid, and Mendelson, 2017, in Crother (ed.), Herpetol. Circ., 43: 12).


Eastern Texas north and northeast to Minnesota and Virginia and thence to southeastern Tennessee, northern Kentucky and central Virginia to Maine and in Canada in southern Quebec, southern Ontario, and southern Manitoba. 

Geographic Occurrence

Natural Resident: Canada, United States of America, United States of America - Arkansas, United States of America - Connecticut, United States of America - Delaware, United States of America - District of Columbia, United States of America - Illinois, United States of America - Indiana, United States of America - Iowa, United States of America - Kansas, United States of America - Kentucky, United States of America - Louisiana, United States of America - Maine, United States of America - Maryland, United States of America - Massachusetts, United States of America - Michigan, United States of America - Minnesota, United States of America - Missouri, United States of America - New Hampshire, United States of America - New Jersey, United States of America - New York, United States of America - North Carolina, United States of America - Ohio, United States of America - Oklahoma, United States of America - Pennsylvania, United States of America - Rhode Island, United States of America - Tennessee, United States of America - Texas, United States of America - Vermont, United States of America - Virginia, United States of America - West Virginia, United States of America - Wisconsin


In the Hyla versicolor group of Faivovich, Haddad, Garcia, Frost, Campbell, and Wheeler, 2005, Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist., 294: 102. Hyla versicolor and Hyla chrysoscelis are very similar species which can only be distinguished by call, NOR's, karyotypes, or cell volume. Nominal Hyla versicolor (N=4)is possibly polyphyletic and further work is needed to elucidate the historical components of this complex. The actual range of each species is poorly understood. Ptacek, Gerhardt, and Sage, 1994, Evolution, 48: 898-908, suggested that "Hyla versicolor" is a set of at least three lineages, independently derived from the two lineages of "Hyla chrysoscelis". This view of three independent lineages gained additional support from Espinoza and Noor, 2002, J. Heredity, 93: 81-85. See also evidence for a single origin of Hyla versicolor in Ralin, Romano, and Kilpatrick, 1983, Herpetologica, 39: 212-225, and earlier discussions by Bogart and Wasserman, 1972, Cytogenetics, 11: 7-24, and Ralin and Selander, 1979, Evolution, 33: 595-608. Holloway, Cannatella, Gerhardt, and Hillis, 2006, Am. Nat., 167: E88-E101, provided an analysis that discussed the role of Hyla chrysoscelis and two extinct species in the formation of the tetraploid Hyla versicolor, discussed previous literature and provided a revised range. Thawley and Carlson, 2013, Herpetol. Rev., 44: 621, documented an identification in Centre County, Pennsylvania, USA. Cline, 2005, in Lannoo (ed.), Amph. Declines: 458–461, and Dodd, 2013, Frogs U.S. and Canada, 1: 294–309, provided accounts that summarized the relevant literature and discussed the difficulty of identification between this species and Hyla chrysoscelis.  Elliot, Gerhardt, and Davidson, 2009, Frogs and Toads of N. Am.: 62–65, provided an account, photos, and advertisement call. Altig and McDiarmid, 2015, Handb. Larval Amph. US and Canada: 199–201, provided an account of larval morphology and biology. Zhang, Luu, Yu, Zhang, Al-attar, and Storey, 2019, Int. J. Biol. Macromolecules, 132: 461–469, reported on phylogenetic placement and the genetic basis of freezing and anoxia tolerance. Bogart, Burgess, and Fu, 2020, Genome, 63: 547–560, discussed the karyological evolution of this tetraploid species. Bassett, 2023, Reptiles & Amphibians, 30(e18486): 1–18, provided an updated county distribution map for Texas, USA. 

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