Amero-Australian Treefrogs: Hylidae
Green Treefrog (litoria Caerulea): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: The green treefrog, also known as White's treefrog, is a pudgy animal with skin that drapes over its sides to make the frog appear almost as if it were melting. The flabby-looking skin behind each side of the back of the head covers large, flat, poison glands. The green treefrog is a round frog with a head that blends back into the body rather than having an obvious neck. Its head has large, white eyes, a short snout, and a wide mouth. Its eardrums are visible on the sides of its head. Its legs are rather short, but its webbed toes are thick and long, ending in wide, triangular-shaped pads. The typical green treefrog is the color of a lime, sometimes with a tinge of yellow on its face and legs. It has a grayish or yellowish white underside. Females, which grow to 2.9 to 4.5 inches (7.0 to 11.0 centimeters) long, are larger than males. Males reach 2.7 to 3.1 inches (6.6 to 7.7 centimeters) in length. Sometimes this frog is listed with the scientific name Pelodryas caerulea instead of the name listed here.
Geographic range: It lives in northern and eastern Australia and has also been introduced to New Zealand.
Habitat: It spends most of its life in the trees of forests, which may be dry or humid. Eggs and tadpoles develop in the calm water of swamps or slow streams.
Diet: This rather large frog eats various arthropods, as well as larger organisms, such as other frogs and even small mammals.
Behavior and reproduction: It often sits in trees with its front feet crossed and held close to its body. It becomes active at night. Following rains, usually from November until February or March, the males begin calling with a deep, repeated "crawk" or barking sound. They call from spots near the water. Females follow the calls to the males and they mate. The females may lay as few as two hundred eggs or ten times that many, dropping them onto the surface of calm water. The eggs soon sink and later hatch into tadpoles. The tadpoles turn into froglets in about six weeks.
Green treefrogs and people: The skin of this frog oozes a substance that can help control high blood pressure in people. High blood pressure, which happens when the blood moves with too much force through the blood vessels in the body, is a dangerous condition. Scientists now make the frog's skin substance in laboratories as a human drug.
Conservation status: The green treefrog is not considered threatened or endangered. ∎
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