I spent much of the weekend in and around Burr Oak State Park in Athens, Morgan, and Perry counties with John Howard and Diane Platco-Brooks. We were there to scout for next weekend's epic moth-fest, Mothapalooza, an event that is drawing 150 people from all around Ohio and points far beyond. We found lots of cool sites and scads of interesting critters. Mothapaloozians are in for a good time.
Friday evening was muggy and wet, following a series of showers. One of our stops featured an insanely loud collection of Cope's gray treefrogs, and I could not resist stalking some of the little amphibious blowhards and making a few images.
CLICK HERE for photos of the other treefrog. Those photos also show the chameleonlike color shift that these frogs are capable of. The frogs in this post are all a nice shade of mossy brownish-green, but if they were to spend enough time on leafy green plant material, chances are they'd shift to a lime-green hue. When on dryer substrates such as oak bark, treefrogs can change to a pearl-gray color.
Cope's gray treefrogs are southerners, occurring roughly in the southern one-quarter of Ohio. The other species, gray treefrog, Hyla versicolor, is found throughout the state and overlaps the Cope's range. However, I don't think I've ever heard the two intermixed and singing in the same locale. We did hear H. versicolor on this trip, but not in close proximity to Cope's.
Of course, the most conspicuous element of this photo is the enlarged throat sac, as the animal was caught in full trill. It was deafening. It is amazing just how loud such a small amphibian can be. At one point, we spied eight or nine males at once, and all of them were in full song. Apparently, the louder one's song the better. One of the frogs managed to get himself inside a small drainpipe, and was singing from within. That was really LOUD, as if the animal had been wired to a stack of Marshall amps. AC/DC would have been proud of the little fellow.
Click on the video to hear a pack of Cope's gray treefrogs singing at VERY close range.