This species occurs in the USA on the Coastal Plain and some upland areas from North Carolina to southern Florida, west to Louisiana, including northern Mississippi (Keiser, 1992, Herpetol. Rev. 23:86); disjunctive subpopulations occur in Delaware and adjacent Maryland, southwestern Kentucky and adjacent Tennessee, and in southeastern Virginia; it is introduced and probably now extirpated in southern New Jersey (Conant and Collins 1991).
Habitat and Ecology
This species' habitat is sandy areas in pine savannahs and in low wet woods and swamps (e.g., willow oak-blackgum, cypress swamps). When inactive during cold or dry season it burrows under tree roots, vegetation or in soil; otherwise mostly arboreal and thus dependent on trees near water. Eggs and larvae develop in shallow water of ponds, swamps and bayheads; in Virginia, breeding sites were temporary ponds dominated by graminoids, beneath open canopies (Mitchell 1991). Reproduction is more successful in semi-permanent ponds due to the absence of predatory fishes. In some areas, deep ponds, such as Carolina Bays and borrow pits, are preferred breeding sites.
Overall, the trend is unknown but it is likely relatively stable. In Florida, declines might have occurred in altered habitats and in areas subject to excessive collecting (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).
It is secure in the major portion of the range, less so in peripheral areas. In some areas (e.g. Virginia) it is threatened by the conversion of native pine habitat to high-density monocultures of loblolly pine (Mitchell 1991). In Florida, habitat alteration and collecting for the pet trade are threats of unknown magnitude (Bartlett and Bartlett 1999).
Its range overlaps with many protected areas; however, habitat protection and population monitoring are needed in the peripheral subpopulations and those that appear to have experienced declines in the past.
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2014. Hyla gratiosa. In: IUCN 2014