Friday, March 30, 2012

Barking Tree Frog in the Florida scrub

Found this beautiful barking tree frog (Hyla gratiosa) in the yard.  Barking tree frogs are Florida's largest native tree frog. Typically they are very green with yellow spots. This one had whitish-silver skin. Tree frogs will often change their color based on their level of stress or time of day. But I have to wonder if living in the Florida scrub with all of our white sand helped encourage this little charmer to give up the green. There are lots of animals in the scrub that are white: tiger beetles, wolf spiders, millipedes. The much rarer Gopher Frogs that live here as commensals in gopher tortoise burrows are this same striking color. It helps keep them inconspicuous on our blaring white soil. It really isn't much different than animals in polar regions who tend toward white coloration. White makes great camoflage.

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