This super tiny adorable little frog is the Boreal Tree Frog(Pseudacris maculata). Boreal means "Northern" and Chorus is a "group of singers" So this little frogs names translates into "Northern Group-Singing Frog". These frogs are native to the United States, with scattered populations. They reach a maximum length of 1 1/2 inches. Usually they are around 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. The one photographed here was a little less than a 1/2 inch as you can see on my fingernail.
Typically these are the first frogs to become active in the spring, even found when snow and ice are still on the ground. They call quietly with a distinctive "breeeekk".The call is said to resemble the sound made when fingers are ran across the teeth of a comb. This species has a very soft croak unlike most frogs which croak very loudly and proudly. Because of their tiny size and cryptic coloring they are very hard to see. They are tan, gray or reddish with darker broken stripes along their back. An additional stripe runs through the eye. Found low to the ground under vegetation they blend in well with their surroundings and unless you happen to see one hop you probably won't notice them. Commonly found near temporary bodies of water. The one pictured here was not alone, he had many cousins, siblings, friends, etc... with him. All told there were probably a hundred or more. When I first noticed it from a distance I thought it was an insect of some sort, it wasn't until I was able to get close to one that it became apparent it was a frog, and he had lots of company. We have an old pond that is holding water thanks to all the spring rains. It usually goes dry by the middle of summer.It was in the tall grasses near this pond where they were hanging out. They will also be found in roadside ditches, flooded fields, river back waters, lakeside edges etc. After mating, the female will lay a clusters of up 100 eggs on the leaves or stems of vegetation near water. I've read a couple of different accounts as to how long it takes for the eggs to hatch. One article claimed 3 days and still another claimed as many as 18 days, so we will say that from 3- 18 days the young will emerge from the eggs. It takes about 40 days before they go from tadpole to adult size. They will complete their life cycle sometime in July. These new adults will be very small at around 1/2 inch, like the one pictured here. I am assuming this one and its companions either overwintered at this size or a bunch of these little frogs reached their maturity at the same time and came out before July.
Their diet consists of tiny insects, like mosquitoes and other small arthropods. Boreal Chorus frog have many enemies and live life trying to stay one step ahead of hungry predators like, snakes, other frogs, larger insects like praying mantids, mice, rats, birds and other small mammals. While these frogs are not commonly seen they are one of the most common frogs in their range. Look for them in forests, forest edges and tall grasses near water. Remember not every tiny little creature that moves low in the grass is an insect, sometimes it is a delightful surprise like this little creature.