American Green Tree Frog
Hyla cinerea
Photographic Study by Shannon Lowes

The American Green Tree Frog has inherent qualities that set this species apart from others. These frogs can vary in color on the posterior from light to dark green, with a cream colored stripe that begins at each side of the head and continues down the side of the body and ends on the inside of the leg. The anterior tends to be pale to dark yellow or tan in color. The skin color will adapt when the temperature of their habitat changes, becoming much darker or lighter. Along the back there are typically yellow or brown spots encircled by black a ring. Tree frogs have big toes, relative to the size of their feet, and the ends are bulbous pads, which allow better surface area coverage when climbing. Their back feet are webbed, and are slightly longer than the front feet.

Their main habitats include swamps, ponds, cattail marshes, and floodplains. American Green Tree Frogs are native in southern parts of the United States from Louisiana north to Kentucky, south through Florida, and northeast through Delaware. Some non-indigenous tree frogs have been reported scattered in some northern and few western regions of the country. These tree frogs were introduced by accidental transportation with plants, tadpoles in shipped aquacultures and in pet trade.


The green tree frog is nocturnal, therefore during the day, they can be found clinging to branches and sleeping. At night they feast on insects, climb, and communicate with other frog, which is done by making calls that resemble a barking dog, or a honking sound.


Macro Photography Techniques:

When photographing live specimens, the ideal lighting technique to use is a flash unit, which aids in decreasing the amount of blur caused by specimen movement. This technique allows ample light to achieve impressive depth of field with the highest aperture. Working in a laboratory setting is convenient to achieve ideal lighting, background, and specimen control.

Photographing live specimens has its difficulties, especially when there is a tendency for them to be easily excitable and quick to flee. All of these frog photographs were done in a laboratory setting in a glass chamber. 

Equipment Used:
Canon 5D Mark II, 100 mm macro lens
Endoscope on the end of a 100 macro lens
Flash fiber optics and regular fiber optics

Photograph taken with an endoscope on the end of a 100 mm macro lens.

Author/Photographer Bio:
Shannon Lowes is an environmental enthusiast, and prefers spending time outside in the woods. Soon after graduation this May, she will be setting off for a four month long adventure on the Appalachian Trail. In due course, she aspires to be an environmental researcher and conservationist.


Nichols, By Matthew. "ADW:Hyla Cinerea: Information." Animal Diversity Web. Interagency Education Research Initiative & University of Michigan, 1995-2008. Web. Nov. 2010. <>.

"Green Tree Frog." Frog World. Frog World, 2008-2009. Web. Oct. 2010. <>.

"American Green Tree Frog." FROGLAND! AllAboutFrogs.ORG. Copyright © 1995-2006 Dorota, 1995. Web. Nov. 2010. <>.

Somma, Louis A. "Green Treefrog (Hyla Cinerea)-FactSheet." USGS Science for a Changing World. Aug. 2009. Web. 11 Nov. 2010. <>.