Hyla versicolor/chrysoscelis in Missouri

There are numerous images of Hyla species posted for Missouri, and H. versicolor cannot be distinguished from H. chrysoscelis based on images alone. Auditory evidence (or DNA evidence) is required to confirm the species. A good discussion of call differences can be found at http://frogcalls.blogspot.com/2016/03/gray-treefrogs-hyla-versicolor-vs-hyla_29.html

I am aware of two sources available on the web providing information about the distribution of the two species, Missouri Fish and Wildlife Information System (http://mdc7.mdc.mo.gov/applications/mofwis/mofwis_search1.aspx) and the Missouri Herpetological Atlas Project (atlas.moherp.org, which appears to be down at the time of this writing 9/23/2018). I have attempted to compile the information into a single graphic.

I do not have any direct knowledge of the validity of either assessment of the distributions. Distributions generated from observations on iNaturalist are suspect, since observations confirmed by identification from images are suspect (in my opinion).

There is an option to ID these observations as "Complex Hyla versicolor - Gray Tree Frog Complex". Start typing Hyla versicolor to suggest an ID and select the option with "Complex Gray Tree Frog Complex" as the common name. The scientific name will appear to be Hyla versicolor until you select the complex and the ID field will return the complex.

Any information clarifying the distributions of the two species in Missouri would be appreciated. Also, if anyone detects errors in the maps provided in this post, based on your knowledge of the two sources, I would be happy to correct them. I will not, however, attempt to correct the maps outside of possible transcription errors that I have introduced in producing the maps.

Posted on September 23, 2018 06:20 PM by lfelliott lfelliott


In case you might want to link to this re: the above issue: @chinquapin @bobbyfingers @johngsalamander

Posted by lfelliott almost 5 years ago

Nice work, Lee. This will be very useful! Best, Fings

Posted by bobbyfingers almost 5 years ago

Nice write-up Lee. I agree that in areas where the two species may occur, an audio file should be required for a "research grade" observation, otherwise as you say, use the chrysoscelis/versicolor designation.

Posted by mduran almost 5 years ago

Very nice compilation. I think the only take home we can draw is that if it isn't in NE MO, it could be either species.

Posted by sandboa about 4 years ago

I live in Pettis county but Henry is across the street. Most of the tree frogs I see are around the house, usually on the house or on the plants. They really like the Colocasia leaves and hiding in the petioles. I suppose I am on the borderline for both species and it would be interesting to know which is here. They really get with it in the late afternoon/early evening with their calls...

Posted by lonniemiller over 3 years ago

@lonniemiller - The iNaturalist app allows you to capture recordings using your phone and upload those as your record vouchers. As long as you don't move the phone in your hands while recording (better to put it down on a flat surface) and are reasonably close to the frogs, we will be able to answer you question!

Posted by sandboa over 3 years ago

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