Treefrogs have adhesive disks on the tips of their fingers that allow them to climb trees.
In mid-spring our ponds resound with the penetrating trills of gray treefrogs – a come-hither cacophony rising from the vocal sacks of hormone driven males.
So strong is the males’ yearning for females that they will continue to sing even when a flashlight illuminates their watery stage. This makes the calling males wonderful subjects for nighttime photography.
These photogenic frogs are remarkable amphibians, magnificently adapted to life in northern woodlands. They are changelings, able to shift their skin colour through various shades of grey, green and brown to blend with their surroundings.
How treefrogs climb
They have adhesive disks on the tips of their fingers that allow them to climb trees. This ability expands their feeding space far beyond that available to their earthbound cousins. Like forest birds, they can hunt the cornucopia of insects inhabiting every level of the forest, from the ground to the treetops.
To cope with our cold winters, treefrogs, like wood frogs, can tolerate freezing temperatures. Glycol in their bloodstream acts as an antifreeze.
Then when spring warms their amphibian hearts, treefrogs seem able to divine new water sources. Dig a pond near a grove of trees and treefrogs will come.
Treefrog tadpoles have red tails
Treefrog tadpoles are also remarkable. They are hunted by dragonfly larvae – sharks of the Lilliputian pond world. Faced with these pint-sized terrors what’s a soft bodied tadpole to do?
Well, with treefrog tadpoles, changing the colour of their tails is one answer. Research has shown that in ponds with lots of dragonfly larvae, treefrog tadpoles sport bright red tails.
Biologists propose that these red tails divert the attention of dragonfly larvae away from the tadpoles’ heads. Far better to lose part of your tail than lose your head!
Given trees and ponds, the remarkable gray treefrogs will survive. Long may they trill!
Listen to the trill at www.naturenorth.com/spring/sound/Gray_Treefrog.mp3
And more frog calls here: https://www.trentu.ca/biology/berrill/frog_calls/Frog_calls.htm
Treefrog Photo Gallery
Learn more about the treefrog: