It’s easy to tell when it’s tree frog ᴍɑтɪпɡ time — just listen for the chorus of croaks. But aside from making noise, what else is involved in the ᴍɑтɪпɡ behaviors of tree frogs?
Tree frogs are a diverse family of amphibians that includes over 800 species. Not all tree frogs live in trees. Rather, the feature that unites them has to do with their feet—the last bone in their toes (called the terminal phalanx) is shaped like a claw. Tree frogs also have toe pads to help them climb and many have extra skeletal structures in their toes. Tree frogs can be a variety of colors, but most of the species found in the United States are green, gray, or brown. Some of them, like the squirrel tree frog (Hyla squirella), are chameleon-like in their ability to change color.
For the most part, tree frogs are solitary animals devoid of social behaviors, and usually only come together when it’s time to ᴍɑтᴇ .
Mɑтɪпɡ tree frogs
The exact timing of breeding for gray tree frogs varies based on temperature and their location throughout the range. Most reproduction takes place early on, although the calling season lasts from late April to early August. Individuals may ᴍɑтᴇ up to three times in a season. Tree frogs also have different breeding systems, the most common of which is called a lek. In this system, males vie for a female’s attention at night, and females are largely in control of ᴍɑтᴇ choice.
When the female gets close, the male will climb on her back and grasp her with his front legs, a position called amplexus. The female will then travel — carrying her ᴍɑтᴇ with her — to a pond or other body of water (if they aren’t already near one) to lay her eggs, which the male fertilizes as they’re being laid. The pair will normally stay in this coital position for one or two hours, if not all night.
Males are very territorial and will fight other males to defend their area. Fights may last 30 to 90 seconds and consist of wrestling, shoving, kicking and head butting until the subordinate male retreats. Females instigate ᴍɑтɪпɡ by approaching a calling male and touching him before rotating 90 degrees.
The individuals engage in amplexus, a ᴍɑтɪпɡ position in which the male grasps the female with his front legs, as the female deposits 1,000 to 2,000 eggs which are externally fertilized by the male. Since ᴍɑтɪпɡ occurs while the frogs are floating in water, eggs are deposited into the water in small clusters, which attach themselves to structures via a transparent, mucous outer layer.
After a pair ᴍɑтᴇs, the male sticks around in hopes of ᴍɑтɪпɡ with other females. The female, on the other hand, is done for the night, though she may ᴍɑтᴇ once or twice more that season.
Tree frog gives birth
Tadpoles usually hatch after three to seven days, depending on the water temperature. About 10 minutes to an hour before hatching, the embryo has to release a fluid to help break down the wall of the egg. Tadpole development depends on water temperature with metamorphosis typically occurring in 45 to 65 days. They become sexually mature after two years.
Because the duration of their breeding seasons was rather different, the levels of food intake at the respective breeding sites were analysed. We found a positive correlation between the length of the male calling period and the ingestion of prey. The longer the species‐specific reproductive activity of the males, the more individuals fed during that time.
Video resource:Prasanta Kumar Bordoloi