Curious Cope’s

There’s a curious thing with the Cope’s Grey Tree Frog, Hyla chrysoscelis. There is another species almost identical nearby, the Common Grey Tree Frog, Hyla versicolor.

Common Grey Tree Frogs are not as common in the Piedmont as Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs. The calls are VERY slightly different. There are VERY slight differences in size (say a tenth of an ounce or so). They have different ranges, with H. versicolor more common northward and the H. chrysoscelis running southward.

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Cope’s Gray Treefrog sitting on a redbud. Males have black throats, so it’s a girl.

So what’s the difference? This is:

Hyla chrysoscelis are haploid, meaning every chromosome has two complete copies of the necessary genetics, one from the mother and one from the father. Like humans do. And most vertebrates. And what one would expect. Nothing abnormal at all.

Hyla versicolor are tetraploid. Meaning they have FOUR complete copies each chromosome and the whole meiosis/mitosis/gamete thing is, well, atypical. Oh, and this must mean that H. chrysoscelis is an older species than H. versicolor.

Life is weird.

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