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European tree frog (Hyla arborea)
Species: H. arborea
The European tree frog (Hyla arborea) is a small frog that can grow to a maximum length of 4.5 cm.
They are the only members of the widespread tree frog family (Hylidae) indigenous to Mainland Europe. Characteristic are the discs on the frog's toes which it uses to climb trees and hedges. There are three or four species and many subspecies:
• Hyla arborea (Linnaeus, 1758) (common or European tree frog)
• Hyla meridionalis Boettger, 1874 (Mediterranean tree frog or stripeless tree frog)
• Hyla intermedia Boulenger, 1882 (Italian tree frog) (not always considered a species)
• Hyla sarda (De Betta, 1853) (Sardinian tree frog)
The European tree frogs actually don't live in forests, but rather prefer sunny forest edges, bushy heaths, wet dune pans, wet scrubland and extensively used meadows and parks with ponds rich in submerged vegetation without fish nearby. These habitats are increasingly influenced by human activity. Hyla arborea, the common tree frog, is endangered in western Europe (nearly extinct in Belgium) while the more common Mediterranean tree frog lives in wet gardens, treegarths, vineyards, campings, and near pine trees.
Common tree frog
Historically, tree frogs were used as barometers because they respond to approaching rain by croaking. They also croak in the breeding season, even when migrating to their mating pools. Depending on subspecies, temperature, humidity, and the frog's 'mood', skin color ranges from bright to olive green, grey, brown and yellow. The head is rounded, the lip drops strongly, the pupil has the shape of a horizontal ellipse and the eardrum is clearly recognizable.
Males can be distinguished from females by their browny-yellowy, large (folded) vocal sacs in the throat region. The amplexus is axillary (in the armpits). Both adult males and females reach sizes up to 30-40 mm, rarely longer than 45 mm. The smooth, shining, usually leaf-green back and the white-yellowish to grey belly are separated by a dark stripe on its flank reaching from the nostrils, over the eye and the eardrum, to the groin, contrasting the green, and forming a dark spot near the hips. The hind legs are much larger and stronger than the fore legs, enabling the frog to jump rapidly.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
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