What Kind of Frog Changes Colors?


There are more than 5,000 species of frogs, and some, like chameleons, can change colors. This color change is due to pigment cells called chromatophores that respond to light, humidity, temperature and moods such as fear or excitement. According to Exploratorium, when the chromatophores are packed together, the frog is light colored. When they are spread out, the frog's color will get darker.

White’s Tree Frog

White’s tree frogs are so named because they tend to live in trees and not water. They are large frogs that range from 3 to 4.5 inches long and most live in Australia, the Torres Straits Islands and New Guinea. Although White’s tree frogs are a light blue to an emerald color with a white or grayish stomach, they can turn brown depending on mood and background.

Green Tree Frog

The green tree frog is found in the southeastern part of the United States. They are between 1.5 and 2 inches in length and have a yellow stripe that runs from the head to the leg. Depending on the environmental conditions and surroundings, the green tree frog can change colors from lime green to brown.

Spring Peeper

The Spring peeper is a nocturnal frog that lives in the eastern part of the United States. It is also called the harbinger of spring because that's the season the males start to make calls. Spring peepers are small frogs that are around 1 to 1.5 inches long. Adults are light brown or tan with dark markings on the back that makes an “X.” However, spring peepers turn a lighter color at night, and they can change colors to match their background.

Rhacophorus Penanorum

The Rhacophorus penanorum, also called the Mulu flying frog, is native to Borneo. During the day, the Mulu flying frog is brown. At night it is bright green. According to the website Frogsofborneo, it is called a flying frog because it uses webbed feet to glide from tree to tree.

African Frogs

The Hyperoluis horstockii frog, also known as the African arum frog, is native to South Africa. It is 1.5 inches long and lives inside the arum swamp lily. Like the lily, it is white in color. However, the frog turns brown to match the dying blossoms. Another South African frog that can change colors is the African clawed frog. Although it has olive, gray or brown coloring, it can become dark, light or mottled to match its background.

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