Cope’s gray treefrog

(Dryophytes chrysoscelis)

Conservation Status


No Image Available

  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern


N5 - Secure

S5 - Secure


not listed


Cope’s gray treefrog is a small, solitary, nocturnal frog. It is 1¼ to 2 long at maturity. Females are larger than males.

The upper (dorsal) surface is warty. It may have blotches but often does not. If there are blotches then the blotches are usually not outlined in black. The background color can change in seconds from green, light grayish-green, gray, brown, or dark brown. The color is determined by the color of the background, the season, and the humidity. It is most often some shade of gray. There is usually a large, irregular, dark blotch on the back. Beneath each eye there is a large spot, white and prominent on males, olive and less noticeable on females.

The belly is white. On females the chin is pale olive-gray. On males the chin is darker gray.

The toes end in large adhesive pads. On males, the lower (ventral) side of the hind legs is bright yellow or yellowish-orange.




A fast trill lasting 1 to 3 seconds, not varying in pitch




1¼ to 2


Similar Species

  Gray treefrog (Dryophytes versicolor) is almost indistinguishable morphologically. The dorsal surface is rougher and usually blotched. The blotches are outlined in black. The only reliable ways to distinguish between the two species is by listening to their calls or examining their chromosomes under a microscope. The call of gray treefrog is a slower trill with about half as many notes. They prefer more wooded habitats.  

Forest edges, prairies, oak savannas, areas near permanent or temporary waters. Near street lamps and lighted buildings at night.




Adults are usually found high in trees, on mossy or lichen-covered fences, or sometimes in abandoned bird houses. They are rarely found on the ground except in breeding season.

During breeding season the adult’s background color is usually green.




Unknown. Probably 5 to 7 years.


Life Cycle


Breeding occurs from April to July, peaking in May to June. After breeding, the female will deposit 450 to 600 packets of 30 to 40 eggs each on emergent vegetation at the surface of a shallow pond or a permanent or temporary pool. The eggs hatch in about three weeks and metamorphosis occurs about four weeks later. The tadpole is about 2 long preceding metamorphosis.

Adults overwinter under the shelter of a log, rock, bark, or leaf litter. They are freeze tolerant and can survive multiple freeze-thaw cycles. Glycerine is produced preventing the formation of ice crystals in vital organs. They live 5 to 7 years.


Tadpole Food


Algae, material from dead and decaying plants and animals (detritus).


Adult Food


Insects, insect larvae, mites, spiders, plant lice, harvestmen, snails, and smaller frogs.


Distribution Map



11, 12, 14, 29, 73.




Common and widespread

  Class Amphibia (amphibians)  
  Superorder Batrachia (amphibians)  
  Order Anura (frogs and toads)  
  Suborder Neobatrachia  
  Superfamily Hyloidea  


Hylidae (tree frogs)  


  Tribe Hylini  



Gray treefrog and Cope’s gray treefrog were, until 1968, considered the same species.




Dryophytes versicolor chrysoscelis

Hyla femoralis chrysoscelis

Dryophytes versicolor sandersi


Common Names


Cope’s gray treefrog





















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Dryophytes chrysoscelis

  Dryophytes chrysoscelis  



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Other Videos
  Cope's Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes chrysoscelis) Frog in Shelby North Carolina

Uploaded on Aug 14, 2010

A Cope's Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes chrysoscelis) hanging out in my backyard in Shelby, NC.

  2 Dryophytes chrysoscelis, Cope's Gray Treefrogs

Uploaded on Jan 28, 2009

Cope's Gray treefrogs recorded by Gary LaFleur on a Sony DSC F717 using nightshot feature; in the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary, specifically at the Sanchez Rd Boat Launch, in parking lot willow tree. This work was supported by Louisiana Atelier for Reproduction in Amphibians (LARA) at Nicholls State University. Clip uploaded by J. Loup. Species ID is tentative and not verified, particularly in consideration of recent nomenclature changes.

  Cope's Gray Treefrog (Dryophytes chrysoscelis) calling.
Donald Becker

Published on Jul 6, 2013

No description available.

  Cope's gray treefrog

Uploaded on Mar 20, 2009

Cope's gray treefrog calling




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