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The Green Tree Frog became Georgia's State Amphibian during the 2005 legislative session, making it the newest state symbol.
The State of Georgia is home to 85 different species of amphibians, which gives it the distinction of having the second greatest amphibian diversity of any state in the United States behind North Carolina. Senate Bill 41, sponsored by Sen. Preston Smith and signed into law May 9, 2005 by Gov. Sonny Perdue, designated the Green Tree Frog as the official state amphibian of Georgia.
There are two species of tree frog commonly found in Georgia. Senate Bill No. 41 referred to Hyla cinera in section 1. Unfortunately, no species was noted in section 2, amending Article 3 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated. Though not specified by statute, we might assume that Hyla cinera was the intended species.
Green tree frogs are a beautiful species of frogs. The males are usually slightly smaller as compared to the females. Moreover, the wrinkled throat (an indication of the vocal pouch) is a feature that is common only among the males. The green tree frog is a 2-inch lime-green frog with a white stripe down each side. It eats bugs and lives mostly in trees, but also has the ability to climb and cling to smooth surfaces like windows and sliding glass doors. According to the bill, the green tree frog's (hyla cinerea) habitat includes nearly all of Georgia, so virtually all Georgians are familiar with the amphibian or have a great opportunity to see its conspicuous bright color and striped markings. The green tree frog is also recognized for its large aggregations of calling males that create conspicuous and characteristic nighttime choruses during the warm months in Georgia.
On May 9, 2005, Governor Sonny Purdue signed Senate Bill No. 41 into law making the green tree frog the "official Georgia state amphibian.
05 LC 28 1909
By: Senator Smith of the 52nd
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
To amend Article 3 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to state symbols, so as to designate the green tree frog as the official state amphibian; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
The General Assembly finds and determines that:
(1) The green tree frog's (hyla cinerea) habitat includes nearly all of Georgia, so virtually all Georgians are familiar with it or have a great opportunity to see its conspicuous bright color and striped markings;
(2) Large aggregations of calling males create conspicuous and characteristic nighttime choruses during the warm months;
(3) All other major groups of wildlife, including mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, trees, and wildflowers, are represented by state symbols, and amphibians are a crucial link in the state's ecosystem;
(4) Official recognition of a state amphibian could help correct the false impression that amphibians and reptiles are one and the same;
(5) The State of Georgia is home to 85 different species of amphibians, which gives it the distinction of having the second greatest amphibian diversity of any state in the United States behind North Carolina;
(6) Well-publicized world-wide decline of amphibians has become a major conservation concern and the exclusion of amphibians from our official state symbols list could possibly contribute to a sense of complacency towards this loss of biota;
(7) Amphibians are excellent indicators of water and air quality due to their porous skin and habit of moving between aquatic and terrestrial habitats, and declines in their numbers can serve as early warning signs that environmental conditions may be deteriorating in localized areas; and
(8) Establishing an official state amphibian is necessary to fully recognize our diverse wildlife and the green tree frog is deserving of the attention and appreciation of the citizens of this state by designation as the official state amphibian.
Article 3 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to state symbols, is amended by adding a new Code Section 50-3-81 to read as follows:
The green tree frog is designated as the official Georgia state amphibian."
All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.
The law designating the green tree frog as the official Georgia state game amphibian is Section 50-3-81 (Official amphibian) of the Georgia Code Title 50 (STATE GOVERNMENT) Chapter 3 (STATE FLAG, SEAL, AND OTHER SYMBOLS ) SECTION 50-3-81.
TITLE 50. STATE GOVERNMENT
CHAPTER 3. STATE FLAG, SEAL, AND OTHER SYMBOLS
ARTICLE 3. OTHER STATE SYMBOLS
O.C.G.A.§ 50-3-81 (2007)
§ 50-3-81. Official amphibian
The green tree frog is designated as the official Georgia state amphibian.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 50-3-81, enacted by Ga. L. 2005, p. 316, §2/SB 41.
Taxonomic Hierarchy: Green Tree Frog
Kingdom: Animalia - animals
Species: Hyla cinerea