Discover Maryland's Herps

Field Guide to Maryland's Frogs and Toads (Order Anura)

Treefrogs (Family Hylidae)

Sillouette of frog

Treefrogs are relatively small anurans. They have a slim waist, long thin limbs and most have toes that terminate in distinctly enlarged discs or pads (except for the eastern cricket frog in Maryland). Treefrogs are distinguished from one another by a number of characteristics including, the type of dorsal markings they possess, the length of the back limbs, the presence or absence of a light spot under the eye and along the upper lip, and the size of the toepads.

There are a total of nine species of treefrogs in three genera that can be found in Maryland. Members of the three genera (Hyla, Pseudacris, and Acris) can be distinguished from one another using fairly obvious physical characteristics.

  1. Hyla species are primarily arboreal and have greatly enlarged pads at the terminal ends of the digits to facilitate climbing.  They lack dark longitudinal lines or “X” shaped markings on the dorsum. Hyla species include the barking treefrog (Hyla gratiosa), gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor), Cope’s gray treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis), and green treefrog (Hyla cinerea).
  2. Pseudacris species are small and have longitudinal lines or an “X” shaped mark on the dorsum.  Although the toe-pads are distinct, they are not as large as the toe-pads of Hyla species. Pseudacris species include the mountain chorus frog (Pseudacris brachyphona), New Jersey chorus frog (Pseudacris kalmi), upland chorus frog (Pseudacris  feriarum), and northern spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer).
  3. The genus Acris is represented by one species in Maryland: the eastern cricket frog (Acris crepitans crepitans). This species is characterized by a longitudinal dark stripe on the rear surface of the thigh and toe-pads that are so small and indistinct that they are virtually absent.

Frog and Toad Anatomy

Click on a picture or species name for profiles
of each of the 9 species of treefrogs found in Maryland.

 

Common Name

Scientific Name

State Status

Barking Treefrog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith Barking Treefrog Hyla gratiosa Endangered
Gray Treefrog, photo courtesy of Scott A. Smith Gray Treefrog Hyla versicolor
 
 
Cope’s Gray Treefrog, photo cortesy of John White Cope’s Gray Treefrog Hyla chrysoscelis  
Green Treefrog, photo courtesy of John White Green Treefrog Hyla cinerea  
Mountain Chorus Frog, photo courtesy of DForester Mountain Chorus Frog Pseudacris brachyphona Endangered
Photo of New Jersey Chorus Frog courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers New Jersey Chorus Frog Pseudacris kalmi  
Northern Spring Peeper, photo courtesy of Mark Tegges Northern Spring Peeper Pseudacris crucifer  
Upland Chorus Frog, photo courtesy of John White Upland Chorus Frog Pseudacris feriarum  
Northern Cricket Frog, photo courtesy of John White Eastern Cricket Frog Acris crepitans crepitans  
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Maryland Amphibian
and Reptile Atlas Project

"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"

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The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.