Very similar to Hyla arborea but differs from it by the interruption of the lateral band forming spots, lack of an inguinal loop in this band, lighter, yellowish or light-green dorsal coloration, smaller body size, different breeding call structure, and some embryonic and larval peculiarities (see below). Snout-to-vent length is 30-47 mm. Dark spot on the upper lip below eye absent. The distance between nostrils is not less than the distance from nostril to upper lip. Tympanic membrane smaller than eye. Dorsal coloration varies depending on temperature and substrate color, as a rule green, sometimes yellowish. Sexual dimorphism the same as in H. arborea.
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Cyprus, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, Islamic Republic of, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey
The species inhabits Southern Caucasus (northernmost localities are south of Tbilisi City in Georgia and on the northern border of Azerbaijan), Syria, Northern Egypt, and Southern Turkey to Northern and Western Iran (Mazanderan Province); Southern Arabian Peninsula in the western drainage (from about 21º30'N to 14º30'N). Due to high morphological similarity with the sympatric Common Tree Frog (Hyla arborea schelkownikowi), the distribution of H. savignyi needs further examination with the use of biochemical characters.This species lives in much drier landscapes than H. arborea schelkownikowi, including steppes, deserts and semi-deserts. It occurs mainly near water bodies, in wet sites, oases, gardens, bushlands, and mountain forest edges. Individuals may be found sitting on trees, bushes, leafs and on land under logs, stones and in burrows. Animals may even be found at long distances from water bodies in xeric environments, such as rocky slopes and on the xerophytic bushes. Reproduction occurs in small stagnant water bodies (ponds and puddles, some of which are very small) and slowly flowing brooks with dense herbaceous and shrub vegetation.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The species is locally abundant but its overall abundance is unknown. It is probably one of the most heat-tolerant species of all the Palearctic tree frogs, living in very hot and dry regions. After the breeding season, the tree frog is not active by day. It may sit motionless for hours, becoming active only in darkness. However, males call also at this time both during dry and wet weather. In the evening twilight, the frogs become active and start to forage and come to water bodies to rehydrate. Hibernation occurs on land from October - beginning of November to March - April, in southern parts of the range hibernation may be shorter or absent entirely. Hibernation occurs on land, in burrows in the soil and other hiding places.
The male's breeding call resembles a cicada chirping. The clutch contains 200-1000 eggs deposited in a few clumps of 270-315 eggs. It is deposited over a few hours, after which the female leaves the pool. The eggs are attached to submerged vegetation or drift in the water. metamorphosis occurs in different months of summer, depending on latitude. Sexual maturity is attained probably in the 3rd-4th year of life.
Tadpoles consume plant and animal matter. Adult frogs prey upon different insects, especially Coleoptera, Hymenoptera and imago Diptera. Mollusca, Arachnoidea, Homoptera, Hemiptera, Neuroptera etc.
Trends and Threats
Presence of wetlands in arid regions seem to be critical factor for existence of populations of H. savignyi.
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Written by Sergius L. Kuzmin (ipe51 AT yahoo.com), Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow
First submitted 1999-11-10
Edited by Meredith J. Mahoney
Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 1999 Hyla savignyi: Lemon-Yellow Tree Frog <http://amphibiaweb.org/species/951> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Oct 18, 2017.
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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2017. <http://amphibiaweb.org> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 18 Oct 2017.
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