“Glass Frog” Transparent skin on their bellies and their organs can be seen through
Glass frogs are a beautiful, exotic frog that is found in southern Mexico, Central America, and South America.
Other exotic animals and fish found in this area are the caiman lizard, coati, cichlid fish, collared peccary, and the howler monkey.
Glass frogs like to live in rain forests in the mountains near flowing streams where it raises its offspring.
This frog can slowly climb trees using its sticky webbed-feet and jumps away from predators in one jump that may be up more than 10 feet (3 meters) long.
Instead of a croaking sound, it makes a high-pitched whistling sound to attract a mate. If it survives predators’ attacks, it can live from 10 up to 14 years.
– Appearance –
These frogs are charming and beautiful, almost magical in appearance. Glass frogs are usually tiny and can fit in the palm of the hand.
The bodies are lime green on the top and transparent when viewed from underneath, revealing all their internal organs.
They may also be white with a reticulated pattern of yellow spots that mimic the appearance of eggs within the female.
On the back of the males, this egg pattern helps confuse predators when the males guard the fertilized eggs.
Their rarity and loveliness are enhanced because they are hard to see and even harder to capture. Biologists, who study them in the tropical rainforests, are still discovering new species.
The translucent skin on their belly allows them to rest with legs next to their body and softens the brightness of the edges, making the frog’s outline less noticeable.
This gives them a bit of camouflage with less visibility to birds that might be attracted to swoop down and eat them.
During the rainy season, when they come down from the trees for mating, it is possible to see the eggs within the females’ body before she lays them for the male to fertilize.
They have big, bulbous, golden-green eyes with black pupils. Their eyes face forward from the top of their heads and rotate independently. They have excellent eyesight, which helps them catch insects to eat.
– Habitat –
The glass frogs live in the tropical lowland forest and the mid-elevation mountain forests in Mexico, Central America, and South America.
They live in forested areas near mountain streams, which they need to raise their young.
Glass frogs can be found in southern Mexico and in the areas set aside for protecting the biodiversity all the way south to Panama, where they are not forced to make any significant adaptations due to human activity. They are commonly found in the rain forests of Colombia, Costa Rica, and Ecuador.
They live in the Andes in Venezuela and on the island of Tobago. They are found in Bolivia.
Some species live near the Amazon and Orinoco rivers, the Guiana Shield region, southeastern Brazil, and the northern part of Argentina.
During the dry season, they live up high in the trees. The dry season is usually from late November to April.
It may start to rain a little in May, which is the beginning of the wet season. The heaviest rains are usually from mid-August to November. During this time, the glass frogs have their mating season.
Glass frogs are sometimes kept as pets but require specific care needs. As such, they should not be kept by beginner hobbyists.
What Do Glass Frogs Eat?
Glass frogs are carnivores. They like to eat small insects that they can catch.
This includes spiders, ants, crickets, moths, flies, and tiny bugs that crawl along the tree branches. They may also occasionally eat other smaller tree frogs.
Their hunting style is to stay still and wait. They let their prey crawl up until it gets in range and then strike out with their tongue to gobble the insect up.
– Reproduction and Life Cycle –
When the rain comes, this triggers the mating season. As soon as the forest is wet enough, the males descend to hang out on a large tree leaf just above a flowing stream.
They make a high-pitched whistle that calls to the females. A female, attracted by the sound, descends to the laying leaf when she is ovulating.
The male mounts her back and waits patiently in rapture until the female lays her eggs on the leaf. After the female expels her eggs all at once, the male fertilizes them.
She may lay up to 30 eggs, called a clutch, which flows out of her all at once covered with a clear substance like a liquid glue to hold them safely in place on the leaf.
When her eggs are out, she goes back up into the trees. She leaves the male behind. He guards the eggs for the gestation period of up to two weeks.
The males become territorial during the mating season. They will wrestle with other males to be able to fertilize the female eggs.
Once on guard protecting a clutch of eggs, the males will whistle again to call other females to lay more eggs. A male may guard as many clutches of eggs as will fit on the large laying leaf.
When the tadpole embryos are large enough, they break out of the eggs and fall off the leaf into the water below. The tadpoles reside in the bottom of the stream, living among the detritus on the bottom for up to ten months until they grow into adult frogs.
The ones that survive to adulthood climb back out of the water. They climb back up into the trees to join the rest of the glass-frog family waiting for them.
One of the most interesting facts is that glass frogs have the potential for long life. They may live for 10 to 14 years if they avoid being eaten by predators and can make adaptations if any climate changes require them.