Green Tree Frog with Blue Spot? #719491 - Ask Extension


Green Tree Frog with Blue Spot? #719491

Asked August 31, 2020, 3:20 PM EDT

I am curious about the blue spot I see on a tree frog I found in my yard. Is this normal?

Wake County North Carolina

Expert Response

Thank you for your question. The frog in your photograph is a green treefrog, scientific name Hyla cinerea. They are characterized by a ivory to yellow stripe that runs from the frog's upper lip to almost the groin area on both sides. They also may have small golden to orange dots on their back. Sometimes these are difficult to see on some individuals.

The small blue area on your frog's back is due to a lack of yellow pigment in that area. The yellow pigment mixes with the gray cells underneath resulting in the green treefrog's normal coloration. If there is no yellow pigment present, the gray cells, which appear to us as blue in natural light, shine through. Some individuals can have large areas of skin that are blue due to a lack of this pigment. This is not a common occurrence, but not exceedingly rare either. 

The green treefrog is found throughout the southeast states and as far west as central Texas.

Here are some links for more information on this species:

If you would like to learn more about frogs and toads in your area, here is an excellent reference:

Dorcas, Mike and Gibbons, Whit. (2008). Frogs and Toads of the Southeast. Athens: The University of Georgia Press.

I hope this answers your question, and thank you for contacting Ask an Expert.

Jim Burke Replied August 31, 2020, 5:17 PM EDT
Thanks a bunch!
The Question Asker Replied August 31, 2020, 5:30 PM EDT
You're welcome! Contact us any time.

Jim Burke Replied August 31, 2020, 5:44 PM EDT

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