Definitions

spring peeper

spring peeper

spring peeper: see tree frog.

Species (Hyla crucifer) of tree frog found in ponds, marshes, and other damp areas in the U.S. During the breeding season it can be found in woodland ponds; at other times it is seldom seen. It has a high, whistling call and is one of the first frogs to vocalize in spring. It is tiny (only 0.75–1.3 in. or 2–3.5 cm, long) and grayish, tan, or olive-brown, with an X-shaped or irregular brown mark on its back.

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A spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) is a small tree frog widespread throughout the eastern USA and Canada.

Description

The spring peeper is a small frog, attaining an adult size between and long. They have a dark cross on their backs roughly in the shape of an "X" (thus the Latin name crucifer, for cross), though sometimes the marking may be indistinct. The color variations of the P. crucifer are mostly tan, brown, olive green, and gray. Females are lighter-colored, while males are slightly smaller and usually have dark throats.

Subspecies

There are two subspecies of the spring peeper, the Northern (P. c. crucifer) and the Southern spring peeper (P. c. bartramiana). The Northern is similar to the Southern except for a strong dark marking on the Southern frog's belly. The Southern P. c. bartramiana is limited to northern Florida and southern Georgia, while the northern can be found all over the eastern USA and eastern Canada.

Behavior

The spring peeper eats small arachnids and insects such as ants, and water bugs. Its predators include great diving beetle larvae (when in tadpole form), snakes, skunks, and larger frogs. Spring peepers breed in southern areas from October to March, depending on the local temperature. In northern areas, they breed from March to June when the warm rain starts. P. crucifer typically lay around 900 eggs per clutch, but up to 1000 is possible. In very cold weather, they hibernate under logs and loose bark. Spring peepers are nocturnal frogs, and they are mostly heard but not seen. They are especially easy to hear due to their extremely loud mating call which gives them the name "peeper", but it is often hard to pinpoint the source of the sound, especially when many are peeping at once.

Local common names

On Martha's Vineyard, peepers are commonly called "pinkletinks"; in New Brunswick, they are called "tinkletoes".

Media

References

  • Database entry includes a range map and justification for why this species is of least concern
  • Spring Peeper Species account from the Iowa Reptile and Amphibian Field Guide

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