Glass frogs have transparent skins, enabling us to view their internal organs. AnimalSake brings to you some interesting facts about these beautiful amphibians.
Did You Know?
Studies have shown that the glass frogs are very important for the smooth functioning of the food chain, as they help control the population of insects to a large extent.
One of the weirdest creatures in the world, the glass frog is an amphibian that belongs to the family Centrolenidae. More often than not, the glass frog is also referred to as the see-through frog, as its internal organs are visible through its transparent abdominal skin. One can actually look inside its body, and see the beating of its heart and the expansion and contraction of its lungs. Scientists believe that some early species of frogs may have evolved and developed a transparent skin, which could act as a natural camouflage. It is indeed very difficult to spot them from a distance, especially when they are perched on leaves. Most glass frogs are lime green in color, however, yellow and blue tinges are also sometimes found.
The first ever documented species of the glass frog was the giant glass frog, Centrolene geckoideum. This species is found in Columbia and Ecuador and are listed as ‘critically endangered’ in the IUCN Red list. Numerous other species of glass frogs have been discovered until now, and several researches have been conducted with regard to their taxonomic classification. Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about these bizarre amphibians.
➦ Glass frogs are small amphibians, about the length of a fingernail. Depending on the species, their lengths vary from about 3 to 8 cm.
➦ As mentioned before, they are generally lime green in color. But the shades of green may also vary from species to species. Most of them have speckled patterns on their skins, in various hues of black, blue, green, or white.
➦ What distinguishes glass frogs from other species of frogs is their translucent, see-through skin.
➦ Two genera of glass frogs, viz., Cochranella and Centrolene, bear green bones, in contrast to most other species which have white bones.
➦ They have webbed feet, and eyes that face forward rather than to the sides, as with many other frog species.
➦ Glass frogs are spread over a wide geographical area. They are found in large numbers in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, and southern Mexico.
➦ They are arboreal in nature, and generally dwell high above the ground, in leaf canopies, especially when it is not their breeding season.
➦ They are usually found inhabiting regions near freshwater bodies, where the vegetation is dense enough, so that they can either hide and/or camouflage themselves.
➦ Owing to this, most species of glass frogs are often seen frequenting densely vegetated patches near rivers, streams, and creeks.
➦ Glass frogs are nocturnal animals, They sleep during the day in the dense vegetation of the rainforests. At night, however, they are very active.
➦ Males have very sharp territorial instincts. If another male happens to enter a glass frog’s breeding territory, it warns its mate by producing a very peculiar, low-intensity sound.
➦ If the intruder still does not budge, the defender jumps wildly on its enemy and chases it away.
Reproduction and Metamorphosis
➦ The glass frogs usually breed after heavy rains or during light showers. They mate either late in the night or early in the morning.
➦ After mating, the female lays about 20 to 30 transparent eggs, either on leaves that hang over running water, or on stones which lie near waterfalls.
➦ The males are in charge of taking care of the eggs, and keeping them moist enough.
➦ While the eggs are not vulnerable to predators, there are certain parasitic species which may attack them. The males also protect the eggs from these parasites.
➦ Usually, the eggs hatch after two weeks, and the tadpoles that come out usually fall into the waters above which the eggs hang.
➦ After spending about 10 months in water, the tadpoles begin to evolve, as their long tails disappear, and lungs and legs start developing. They are then ready to come out of the water.
➦ Glass frogs are nocturnal in nature, as mentioned above, which means that they forage for food in the dark of the night.
➦ Their forward-facing eyes make it possible for them to see their prey directly in front of them.
➦ The moment they spot their prey, they instantly leap forward with their mouths open, and grab it.
➦ Their diet usually consists of spiders, fruit flies, crickets, springtails, and other soft-bodied insects.
➦ They are generally preyed upon by large mammals, snakes, and birds.
Glass frogs can also survive in captivity. Studies tell us that they even make good pets, provided their nocturnal and territorial instincts are taken care of.