Glass Frogs

Small frogs mostly 2 to 3 centimeters in length, usually green, with their eyes pointed forward. These frogs are usually found near streams, holding on to leaves. They lay their eggs on the leaves that overhang the water and the adult frogs will protect the egg masses. When the tadpoles are ready to hatch they fall to the stream coinciding with rains, perhaps to conceal their entrance into the water.

Glass frogs have transparent skin on their bellies through which you can see their digestive track, and their hearts may be seen beating. This transparency gives them the name “glass frogs”. So much to say about so little a critter. Glass frogs have green bones, yet another amazing adaptation, in acheiving enough concealment to survive against the many specialized predators with which they share the forests of Central and South America.

We share a world with amazing creatures, great and small. Many of such, are easily overlooked, and at time even invisible to the determined observer. There will soon come a time when such small marvels are even more difficult to observe, as with age hearing wanes and falters. The high frequencies disappear first, and it is in these registers, that the glass frogs call, with short, sharp chips. How I would know that glass frogs were about was by listening.. and now, or soon, I’ll be left just hoping that they are still there, hanging from the leaves, adhering to the surfaces as they dangle over streams, guarding their clear, jewel-like eggs.

To me their translucent green and often speckled skin on the topside only further cements the name and notion of glass frog.



(Cochranella albomaculata) Yellow-flecked Glassfrog photographed near the Los Patos Field Station, Corcovado National Park, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica (Note the green bones)

Links: Centrolenidae (Glass frogs)

The mp3 sound file which is supposed to play when this page loads, includes a sea of nocturnal insects, and the sharp, short, high-pitched metalic sounds of the species pictured above. They were calling from rainforest along a creek at night.

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