Cuban treefrogs are relatively large frogs in the family Hylidae. They have very large toe pads which are sometimes as large as their tympanum. There is no webbing between the toes on the front legs; however, the rear toes are slightly webbed. Their color is quite variable. They are usually gray to gray green but range to tan brown. While these frogs have irises that are parallel to the ground when sitting, they do not have a stripe running through or below their eyes, as some tree frogs do. They have a distinct tarsal fold extending the full length of the tarsus. Juvenile Cuban tree frogs can be difficult to identify
(Duellman and Crombie 1970; Ashton and Ashton 1988; Carmichael and Williams 1991; Conant and Collins 1991).
Tadpoles have a rounded body, and are black-colored on their dorsal side. The fleshy part of the wide-finned tail is gray-brown, and the fin has scattered dark flecking on it
(Ashton and Ashton 1988).
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cuba. Introduced: Anguilla, Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States, Virgin Islands, British, Virgin Islands, U.S..
U.S. state distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Florida
This species is native to Cuba, the Isla de Pinos, the Bahamas Islands including Little Bahama Bank, Grand Bahama Bank, San Salvador, Rum, Crooked, and Acklins Islands, and the Cayman Islands including Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac (Duellman and Crombie 1970).
This species has been introduced into a large part of southern Florida
(Barbour 1913; Schwartz 1952; Allen and Neill 1953; King 1960; Duellman and Crombie 1970; Myers 1977; Wilson and Porras 1983; Smith and Kohler 1987; Conant and Collins 1991).
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
This hylid frog usually breeds in temporary bodies of water. Tadpoles have relatively fast growth rates and are usually able to metamorphose within weeks. Breeding males have horny nuptial excrescenses on their thumbs, and a medial internal subgular vocal sac with posterolateral extensions
(Duellman and Crombie 1970). Females are much larger than males
(Duellman and Schwartz 1958). Males are reported to mature at a small size, about 40 mm in length
(Blair 1958). Females lay approximately 130 eggs
(Duellman and Schwartz 1958; Ashton and Ashton 1988) per clutch. Eggs are deposited in lakes, ponds, drainage ditches, swimming pools, cisterns, etc
(Behler 1979; Ashton and Ashton 1988). Duellman and Schwartz
(1958) report eggs forming a thin floating sheet at the surface. This species is capable of using pools of relatively high salinity for reproduction
(Duellman and Schwartz 1958; Ashton and Ashton 1988).
Trends and Threats
Cuban treefrogs are apt predators. In areas where they have been introduced, they readily feed on smaller native frogs
(Allen and Neill 1953; Carmichael and Williams 1991). These frogs should be handled with caution because they contain natural skin secretions that can cause skin irritation in humans
(Carmichael and Williams 1991).
A Spanish-language species account can be found at the website of Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio).
Allen, E. R., and Neill, W. T. (1953). ''The treefrog Hyla septentrionalis in Florida.'' Copeia, 1953, 127-128.
Ashton, R. E. and Ashton, P. S. (1988). Handbook of Reptiles and Amphibians of Florida. Part Three, The Amphibians.. Windward Publishing, Miami.
Barbour, T. (1931). ''Another introduced frog in North America.'' Copeia, 1931(3), 140.
Behler, J. L. (1979). The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York.
Blair, W. F. (1958). ''Call differences as an isolation mechanism in Florida species of hylid frogs.'' Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences, 21, 32-48.
Carmichael, P. and Williams, W. (1991). Florida's Fabulous Reptiles and Amphibians. World Publications, Tampa.
Conant, R. and Collins, J. T. (1991). A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
Duellman, W. E. and Crombie, R. I. (1970). ''Hyla septentrionalis Duméril and Bibron Cuban treefrog.'' Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. W. J. Riemer, eds., American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, 92.1-92.4.
Duellman, W. E. and Schwartz, A. (1958). Amphibians and Reptiles of Southern Florida. Volume 3. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Gainesville.
King, W. (1960). ''New populations of West Indian reptiles and amphibians in southeastern Florida.'' Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences , 23(1), 71-73.
Myers, S. (1977). ''Geographic distribution: Osteopilus septentrionalis.'' Herpetological Review, 8(2), 38.
Schwartz, A. (1952). ''Hyla septentrionalis Duméril and Bibron on the Florida mainland.'' Copeia, 1952(2), 117-118.
Smith, H. M., and Kohler, A. J. (1977). ''A survey of herpetological introductions in the United States and Canada.'' Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, 80(1), 1-24.
Wilson, L. D. and Porras, L. (1983). The Ecological Impact of Man on the South Florida Herpetofauna. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Special Publication No. 9, Lawrence, Kansas.
Wright, A. H. and Wright, A. A. (1949). Handbook of Frogs and Toads of the United States and Canada. Comstock Publishing Company, Inc., Ithaca, New York.
Originally submitted by: Vance T. Vredenburg (first posted 2000-01-18)
Edited by: Kellie Whittaker (2009-11-02)
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2009 Osteopilus septentrionalis: Cuban Treefrog <https://amphibiaweb.org/species/1019> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Dec 9, 2023.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2023. <https://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 9 Dec 2023.
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