They are found on every continent except Antarctica, but they’re most diverse in the tropics of the western hemisphere.
There are over 800 species of tree frogs, some of which are classified as tree frogs, which are aquatic or terrestrial.
Rather, the feature that unites them has to do with their feet—the last bone in their toes (called the terminal phalanx) is shaped like a claw. Tree frogs also have toe pads to help them climb and many have extra skeletal structures in their toes.
Most tree frogs rarely descend to the ground, except to mate and spawn, but some tree frogs lay their eggs in trees, or vegetation in the trees, that contains water.
Tree frogs are usually tiny as their weight has to be carried by the branches and twigs in their habitats.
Tree frogs have the typical frog shape, with long hind legs and smooth, moist skin.
While some reach 10 cm (4 in) or more, they are typically smaller and more slender than terrestrial frogs.
At 10 to 14 cm (4 to 5.5 in) long, the white-lipped tree frog (Litoria infrafrenata) from Australia and Oceania is the largest tree frog in the world. The smallest is the little grass frog (Pseudacris, or
Limnoaedus, ocularis), which does not exceed 1.75 cm (0.69 inch) in length.
Tree frogs can be a variety of colors, but most of the species found in the United States are green, gray, or brown.
Some of them, like the squirrel tree frog (Hyla squirella), are chameleon-like in their ability to change color.
They often possess jewel-like eyes that glint with flecks of gold or copper.
Most tree frogs show adaptations suitable for an arboreal lifestyle, including forward-facing eyes providing binocular vision, and the disc-shaped, adhesive pads on their fingers and toes, which help them climb about in trees.
Tree frogs lay their eggs in a range of different locations, depending on species. Once an egg hatches, a small, legless, fish-like creature emerges. This frog offspring is called a tadpole. Tadpoles gradually grow legs, absorb their tails, lose their gills, and turn into frogs and toads that start breathing air and hopping. This whole transformation is called metamorphosis.
Tree frogs are consumed by many different carnivorous animals. Mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish all eat tree frogs.
Though common in much of their range, tree frogs are only rarely used by local people. One exception is the use of phyllomedusa skin toxins used by the Matses Indians of the Northern Peru, in shamanic rites mainly designed to improve luck in hunting.