The life cycle of tree frogs (Hyla savygnyi) was studied in the Upper Galilee and Golan Heights (annual rainfall range of 500–1000 mm) and the Hula Valley (ranging from 212 to 740 m above sea level) in northern Israel. Winter rain ponds, springs, and streams were home to tree frogs. A total of 51 separate breeding sites were observed. Frogs forage on the ground. Adults forage on the shore and on high plant stems above the water surface during the breeding season. Tree frogs only reproduce in ponds and springs with stable, non-flowing water, which is also where the larvae can metamorphose. The male’s call at the breeding site attracts the female, who then approaches the male for breeding, which takes place underwater. In Israel, breeding time varies depending on location, as well as geographical and ecological conditions. In northern Israel, the Upper Galilee, the Golan Heights, and the Hula Valley, it takes place in March–April. Larvae mature between April and June at different breeding sites. Tree frog larvae seem to respond to breeding sites with stable water, such as ponds or springs, but not to breeding sites with running water, including streams or rivers. Pseudepidalea viridis, Rana bedriagae, Pelobates syriacus, Salamandra infraimmaculata, and Triturus vittatus were among the anuran and Urodela larvae found in the same breeding sites as H. savygnyi larvae. H. savygnyi adapts to terrestrial life in semi-arid environments after metamorphosis, and can be found on plants or hiding places under rocks and in holes to avoid dehydration, particularly during hot and dry weather. The frogs’ ability to shift colour allows them to hide in a variety of environments. During dehydration, terrestrial H. savygnyi loses about 50 percent of its body weight in water. The tree frog’s plasma osmolality rises from 200 mOsm/kg to about 450 mOsm/kg, allowing it to live in semi-arid environments.

Author (s) Details

Gad Degani
MIGAL–Galilee Technology Center, P.O. Box 831, Kiryat Shmona 11016, Israel and School of Science and Technology, Tel Hai Academic College, Upper Galilee 12210, Israel.

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