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03 June 2005
Ecology of the Back Porch

Grey Tree Frog (Hyla versicolor)

These little Grey Tree Frogs [Hyla versicolor] are fairly numerous around my house. We hear their loud trilly voices almost every night - especially if they're near an open window. We normally see them only during dark hours when they crawl on the sides of the house with their sticky feet and hang out around the porch lights to catch incoming bugs. Pretty good strategy I'd say. We rarely see them during the day since it seems that they like to hide where it's cool and shady and maybe even a little damp. I've seen them sitting on top of the downspouts just underneath the eave or in the slim gap between the downspout and the siding. I found this guy in a small arborvitae-type bush while we were working in our front flower garden. They are quite bold and do not retreat from the face of a big human.

This little tree frog has a decent capacity to change colors to blend in to its immediate environment. Our house is sort of a light bluish gray color - these frogs are able to get their color quite close and they lose most of their dark markings when perched on the siding. He pretty much looks like arborvitae bark here. What's the physiological mechanism for this ability to change appearance to suit the surrounding? Does anybody know?

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