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Spring Peepers Metamorphosing

8-3-15 spring peeper 434Roughly two months ago Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) could be heard calling from temporary as well as permanent ponds, as males sang to attract mates. After mating took place, the females each laid hundreds of eggs, attaching them singly or in packages of two to three eggs to vegetation.

After hatching, it takes roughly two to three months for peepers to metamorphose into tiny, four-legged, land-dwelling adult frogs. They are now finding their way to shrubby growth and woodlands near ponds, where they are fairly well hidden in the leaf litter or on the lower leaves of shrubs. Here, in the shade, they feed on small insects and spiders. Roughly one-quarter-inch long at this stage, these small treefrogs will only reach one or one-and-a-half inches when fully grown. (For scale, Spring Peeper is sitting next to two red honeysuckle berries.)

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9 responses

  1. Jill Trudeau Marquard

    Hi, Mary!

    I just love peepers. Thanks.

    All the best, Jill

    August 3, 2015 at 8:29 am

  2. Ah! I thought I saw teeny frogs leeping off the forest trail recently. Confused though about your description; did you mean peepers where you said treefrogs? Or are you comparing the sizes of the two species?

    August 3, 2015 at 8:51 am

    • Hi Laurie,
      Spring peepers, along with Gray Treefrogs are categorized as “treefrogs.” Round sticky toe pads, live in trees, etc.

      August 3, 2015 at 9:29 am

      • I was lucky enough to find a patch of blackberry bushes near a pond that they appear to like, and every year the bushes are full of young peepers, and an occasional gray treefrog youngster. Lucky me!

        August 3, 2015 at 9:31 am

  3. Margo Nutt

    How on earth did you manage to capture those teeny, tiny secretive little guys on film!!

    August 3, 2015 at 9:04 am

  4. Sonya

    Found a couple tiny frogs that looked just like the one on your finger. Kids thought “baby peepers” right away. I wasn’t sure…no “X” on the back yet. Maybe it develops later?

    August 3, 2015 at 9:47 am

    • Even adult peepers sometimes lack the “X” – as do the juveniles!

      August 3, 2015 at 4:50 pm

  5. Wow! They are so tiny!!! And this photo and your description makes me wonder about whether when we were kids visiting a NH state park in the summer and we caught (and released) dozens of tiny toads on the trail near a lake – whether they were toads or peepers.

    August 3, 2015 at 5:16 pm

  6. I bet they were toads…American toadlets tend to emerge from their pond en masse, and stick around the edge of the pond for several days before dispersing. I’ve never known peepers to behave this way, or be found in the large numbers that recently-emerged toads are. Toads also have a shorter larval stage and usually metamorphose in July, not that you probably remember exactly what month it was when you did this! (See https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/american-toadlet/ )

    August 3, 2015 at 5:57 pm

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