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Hyla chrysoscelis (Cope’s gray treefrog) x Hyla cinerea (green treefrog): putative natural hybrid

October 6, 2015

Naturally–occurring hybrid treefrogs have been occasionally found in the eastern United States. However, these hybrids are almost always between members of the same species group. On 10 Jun 2014, at 2145 h, we located an individual making an unusual advertisement call along Bayou Manual Road in Sherburne Wildlife Management Area in the Atchafalaya Basin of south-central Louisiana, USA, and brought it back to the laboratory for further study. Physically, the treefrog appeared intermediate between a Green Treefrog and a Cope’s Gray Treefrog, which are members of different species groups. Call analysis also showed the individual to be intermediate between the two putative parental species. Flow cytometry was used to estimate the total genome size from nuclei of whole blood cells, and also determined the individual to be intermediate of the putative parental species. Despite vocalizing for mates, the hybrid did not appear to have viable spermatozoa, and was likely the result of an anomalous mis-mating event between a male Cope’s Gray Treefrog and a female Green Treefrog. To our knowledge, natural hybrids between a Cope’s Gray Treefrog and a Green Treefrog have not been previously reported.