40+ Glass Frog Questions Answered (Videos, Photos + More)

glass frog facts faq

Can you imagine having a transparent torso? Your gut and your heart exposed for everyone to see. Well, there is an amazing amphibian that looks exactly like that.

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Table of Contents

Glass Frogs

1. What are glass frogs?

Glass frogs are members of the amphibian family Centrolenidae (order Anura). They are special because the abdominal skin of some members of this family of frogs is transparent and translucent.

A frog is any member of short-bodied, tailless amphibians composing the order Anura which literally means without tail in Ancient Greek.

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2. How many species of glass frogs?

There are 150 species of glass frogs in two subfamilies – Centroleninae and Hyalinobatrachinae.

Centroleninae contains 117 species while Hyalinobatrachinae contains 32 species.

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3. What do glass frogs look like?

Most of the glass frog’s body is green except for the lower surface of the body and legs, which are transparent and translucent.

Cute glass frog
Cute glass frog

Translucent materials allow some, but not all, light to pass through it while transparent ones allow all light to pass through it.

4. What is the glass frog’s size?

Glass frogs are generally small, and range from 3 – 7.5 cm (1.2 – 3.0) in length.

5. Where do glass frogs live?

Glass frogs are arboreal frogs that come off trees only during breeding season and then populate areas along rivers and streams from southern Mexico to Panama, and through the Andes from Venezuela and the island of Tobago to Bolivia, with some species in the Amazon and Orinoco River basins, the Guiana Shield region, southeastern Brazil, and northern Argentina.

6. What do glass frogs eat?

Glass frogs are carnivores and their diet mainly consists of small insects like crickets, moths, flies, spiders, and yes, even other smaller frogs.

7. Glass frog’s life cycle

Glass Frog Life Cycle Diagram
Glass Frog Life Cycle Diagram

Glass frogs begin as eggs laid on land, develop as aquatic tadpoles, then return to land in their adult life stage.

8. Glass frog’s lifespan

Average lifespan of glass frog is usually between 10 and 14 years in the wild.

9. Who discovered glass frogs?

The first described species of glass frogs was the “giant” Centrolene geckoideum. The specimen was collected in northeastern Ecuador and named by Marcos Jiménez de la Espada in 1872.

Marcos Jiménez de la Espada (1831–1898) was a Spanish zoologist, herpetologist, explorer, and writer from Cartagena, Spain. He participated in the Pacific Scientific Commission, with whom he traveled America from 1862 to 1865. During all his American adventure, Jiménez de la Espada collected many kinds of animals that he not only studied but also sent alive to Madrid.

10. Why are glass frogs transparent?

A recent study into why glass frogs are transparent showed that it’s a form of camouflage. Translucent frogs were less visible, and were attacked by birds significantly less often than non-transparent frogs.

How did they conduct this interesting study?

The scientists made 180 translucent and 180 opaque frogs out of gelatin and put them in vegetation in Ecuador. They then monitored them over the course of 72 hours to see whether the frogs were attacked by birds. Overall, 53 opaque and 24 translucent frogs were eaten during the experiment showing that the glass frogs indeed had a form of camouflage.

11. Are glass frogs diurnal or nocturnal?

Glass frogs are nocturnal animals and prefer to come out at night.

12. Are glass frogs endangered?

Depending on the species, glass frogs are categorized from Least Concern to Critically Endangered on the most recent IUCN Red List assessments.

13. Why are glass frogs endangered?

Glass frogs have become a popular pet in recent years due to their distinct looks. Coupling that with their habitats being destroyed by an ever expanding agriculture and you can see why some species of glass frogs are endangered.

Glass frogs, like other amphibians, are threatened by an infectious disease caused by the chytrid fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans, that has been linked to dramatic population declines of amphibian species.

14. When did glass frogs become endangered?

Since the 1980s, decreases in amphibian populations, including population crashes and mass localized extinctions, have been observed in locations all over the world. These declines are known as one of the most critical threats to global biodiversity.

15. Are glass frogs dangerous?

No, glass frogs are not dangerous at all.

16. Do glass frogs bite?

Glass frogs do have teeth but they would not bite you. Their teeth are there to help grip the small prey like insects, while they are swallowing them.

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17. Glass frogs’ predators

Glass frogs, like other frogs out there face some common predators. The usual suspects are snakes, birds, and mammals.

18. How do glass frogs reproduce?

During the breeding stage, glass frogs climb down from canopies and congregate beside rivers and streams.

19. Where do glass frogs lay their eggs?

They leave their eggs usually on leaves hanging over running water and after they hatch, the tadpoles fall into the waters below.

Because their eggs are tasty snacks for snakes, and other predators, glass frog mothers (or fathers) brood the eggs during the night the eggs are fertilized, and this care improves the survival of the eggs significantly.

20. How do glass frogs adapt to their environment?

Their best adaptation to environment is the feature that made them so famous – translucency; which helps them camouflage with their surroundings, i.e. a leaf. They are also green, and have expanded finger tips to help them climb.

21. What do glass frogs do?

Glass frogs spend their days in trees trying to catch food and avoiding predators.

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22. Can you buy glass frogs?

Sure you can. Glass frogs are becoming a popular pet in the last few years and can be easily found for sale online. They are in fact, so popular that the glass frog trade is starting to threaten wild populations.

23. Can you have glass frogs as pets?

If you can buy one, you can have it as a pet. You’ll need all the equipment for amphibians including tank, vegetation, a water feature and so on.

24. Can you pet or touch a glass frog?

You might want to think twice before doing that. Glass frogs, like other frogs/amphibians, can carry salmonella, which, as we know, can be lethal for us humans.

Glass frogs also absorb water and other liquids, like chemicals and toxins through their skin. This is the reason why you should wear vinyl gloves when handling glass frogs, or any other frogs. You won’t hurt them and they won’t hurt you.

25. Can you eat a glass frog?

You can eat a glass frog just like you can eat most other frogs out there. Another question is, why would you actually do it. I know, I know, they are considered a “delicacy”, but so are many other animals. Just because you can eat it, doesn’t mean that you should.

26. What does the glass frog sound like?

27. Are glass frogs venomous or poisonous?

No, they’re not. They already have one super-power, they don’t need more.

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28. Can glass frogs swim?

Glass frogs are excellent swimmers. They are amphibians after all. They just prefer to spend their time in the trees.

29. Do glass frogs live in the Amazon rainforest?

They usually live in Central and South America where they prefer tropical rainforests including the Amazon, where some of the glass frog species can be found.

30. Do glass frogs live in Costa Rica?

Yes, many glass frog species live in Costa Rica, including:

The glass frogs are most commonly spotted in Tortuguero National Park and La Selva Protected Zone as well as Caño Island Biological Reserve.

31. Are glass frogs rare?

They are not rare, in fact, they commonly occur in Central and South America. With more than a hundred species, some of them are more and some are less endangered. Let’s hope they do not become rare.

Noteworthy Glass Frog Species

32. Fleischmann’s glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni)

Fleischmann's glass frog
Fleischmann’s glass frog

Also known as the northern glass frog, this frog’s features include primarily green skin, pale yellowish spots, yellow fingertips and translucent skin covering its stomach.

Male frogs have a noticeable hook protruding from its spine, presumably used to fight other frogs, defend its territory or the eggs.

They have been found to live in Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador.

The specific name fleischmanni honors Carl Fleischmann, a collector in Costa Rica in the 1890s.

In zoological nomenclature, the specific name is the second part within the scientific name of a species. The first part of the name of a species is the name of the genus or the generic name.

33. La Palma glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium valerioi)

Hyalinobatrachium valerioi
Hyalinobatrachium valerioi

Hyalinobatrachium valerioi is found in central Costa Rica and south to Panama and the Pacific lowlands and slopes of western Colombia and Ecuador; also in the Magdalena River Valley of Colombia.

They look similar to Fleischmann’s glass frog as they’re both part of the subfamily hyalinobatrachinae that was established in 2009.

34. Cochranella nola

Cochranella euknemos
By Erfil – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52451855

Cochranella nola is a small arboreal species of glass frog that is endemic to Bolivia where it is found in the Andean foothills in the Santa Cruz Department.

The scientific name nola is Latin for “small bell”, and refers to the high-pitched, bell-like call of the male in the breeding season.

35. Emerald glass frog (Centrolene prosoblepon)

Centrolene prosoblepon

This species is also known as Nicaragua giant glass frog and can be found in Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras.

Centrolene prosoblepon is found at elevations ranging from 20-1,500 meters in zones that are humid such as forests and rainforests.

The word “prosoblepon” originates from the Greek words “proso” and “blepo”, which respectively mean “forward, in front” and “see, look”, and is thought to signify the frontal position of the eyes in the emerald glass frog.

Glass Frog Photos

36. Glass frogs belly

Their see through belly is their most prominent feature. You can see their intestines and their beating heart through it.

Glass frog's belly 1
Glass frog’s belly 1
Glass frog's belly (2)
Glass frog’s belly 2
Glass frog's belly 3
Glass frog’s belly 3

37. Glass frog eyes

Their eyes are both facing forward and not sideways like most frogs’ eyes do.

Centrolene ilex eyes
Centrolene ilex eyes
Suriname glass frog's eyes
Suriname glass frog’s eyes
Centrolene prosoblepon's eyes
Centrolene prosoblepon’s eyes

38. Glass frog babies

Frog babies are the cutest. They hatch from eggs as tadpoles and later develop into frogs!

glass frog baby
Glass frog baby
glass frog baby
Glass frog baby 🙂
glass frog baby
Glass frog baby

39. Glass frog tadpoles

Their tadpoles are translucent as well and they are adorable.

Glass frog tadpoles

Glass Frog Related Products

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40. Best glass frog books

41. Best glass frog gifts

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Adrian Volenik

I've lived around animals my whole life and I hold a Diploma in Animal Physiology. When I'm not reading or writing about wild animals, health and fitness, and technology, you can find me playing with my son and two cats. My pastimes include running, playing video games, and solving the NY Times crossword.