Spot the tree frogs!

June 14, 2015 • 3:45 pm

No nightjars this time, but reader Mark Sturtevant sent a photo that has cryptic tree frogs in it. To wit:

I have placed two gray tree frogs (probably Hyla versicolor) on this tree trunk. Can your readers find them? For scale, the frogs are about 2 inches long from nose to rump, and the ridges on the bark are often about that wide. Here is a picture of what these look like.

They are very obliging at being placed on the tree pretty much wherever I want to stick them. And they do stick pretty well, given their tree froggy toes and generally sticky skin.

Okay, where are they? Answer later.

Find the tree frogs

37 thoughts on “Spot the tree frogs!

  1. Found them, though only by going to the 5182×3456-pixel version and ramping up the magnification (the distinctive markings on the frogs’ back are the giveaway). I’d stand no chance with only the original, unmagnified image.

    1. Me too – found them both but I had to zoom in and it was easy to lose them again when you zoomed out! No wonder I haven’t seen these guys as they really blend in well!

  2. I haven’t found the frogs yet, but I just wanted to be a know it all and explain that the reason they are “probably” Hyla versicolor and not definitely Hyla versicolor is that there is another species of grey treefrog, Hyla chrysoscelis, which is morphologically indistinguishable from H. versicolor, but is tetraploid, probably the species originated by an autopolyploidy event.

      1. Actually, versicolor is the tetraploid, chrysoscelis is diploid. Otherwise you are spot on.

        For those of you having trouble – I did my graduate work on these guys and still had to magnify to the maximum to find them. Not easy.

        1. Late to the party. You are correct. I thought it was the other way around too, until yesterday.

        2. Thanks for the correction. I should have double checked, since I can never remember which is which.

      1. Everyone is zooming in to find them. I “zoomed in” too – my face was an inch away from the screen – but I still don’t see them. 🙂

  3. Found them! Though like others I had to zoom in close. I’m going to assume that if you prey on these things, your species has evolved better vision for finding these things, or moved on to easier prey, or died out.

  4. That was frustrating! I too had to max zoom to find them. I don’t think I’ve seen such great camouflage on a frog before.

    1. I agree! And this was not rock outcropping with lizards: monotone tree bark! And still not easy to make out after spotting, especially looking at the picture above. Phenomenal!

  5. I had to enlarge the picture, but didn’t zoom in after that. I’m also only mostly convinced I found both.

  6. If he “placed” them on the tree trunk, that means he must have caught them to begin with, which is pretty impressive! I hear them all the time in my tiny backyard in May-June and can NEVER find them!

    1. Those aren’t frogs, he’s just hoppy to see you.

      Sorry, it was just there. Someone had to do it. I swear, I had no choice. Read Jerry’s damn book.

  7. Wow. I found them but I doubt I’d have a remote chance of seeing these guys in the wild. Truely remarkable.

  8. Makes me wonder how many times I’ve walked by them. I’ve seen the ones here with the little X on their back.

  9. I used to work in a plant nursery. One exceptionally dry year we had a miniature invasion of those little gray frogs, which I theorized had found their way into the greenhouses in search of water (the plants are watered at least once per day and it’s always soggy underneath the benches). Unlike most amphibians I’ve ever handled they were incredibly docile. They could easily be picked up and would usually “sit down” right where you placed them (without hopping away). I’ve never seen one of them outdoors.

    1. That is exactly my experience. I would stick them to any part of the tree that I wanted (generally choosing areas that match their shade of gray, hee, hee) and they would pretty much just settle in right there.

    1. Me too! My parents gave a pool they never use so every year it fills up with eggs and tadpoles. Several hundred little tree froglets on every plant surface for a few weeks are much easier to spot! And they are super adorable, starting out quite green.

  10. Sheeesh, could you at least not have put up the full high res image so I could have an excuse for not having found the second one?! 😉

  11. I think that is the hardest “spot the…” yet! I found both eventually by zooming in but it was not easy and, once found, the little blighters are easy to lose again! The one further towards the top right is oriented vertically, head pointing up and the one that is further down to the left is oriented along a 2pm to 8pm axis with its head raised and looking down. I won’t indicate the coordinates on the trunk so others can still enjoy the hunt.
    I think there may be a nightjar hiding behind the tree!

  12. When I was doing this, the funny part was that I would lose them too. I had just stuck them onto the tree, stepped back, and… could no longer see them! I pretty much just had to trust that they were there somewhere.

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