The Glass Frog of Costa Rica
You can see everything that is going on inside of these little amphibians of the lowland wet forests in Costa Rica. There internal organs are visible; hence the name.
Glass frogs are found within the range of Central and South America making their home in the rainforests of the Amazon and the various protected areas of Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Colombia, Venezuela et al. The species of Glass Frog found in Central and South America is often classified under the umbrella family of centrolenidae, but the Hyalinobatachium Fleischmani (glass frog), as it is referred to in Costa Rica, is slightly different from other species found throughout Central and South America.
Mating & Reproduction
In the mating season, these arboreal creatures live in trees along river banks, and deposit their eggs on tree leafs. As the tadpoles hatch, they fall into the rivers below beginning the process of transformation. Glass Frogs mostly prefer to place their eggs on tree leaves, because they are protected from predators. The eggs are still somewhat vulnerable to certain flies and maggots.
Once the tadpoles have hatched and dropped into the pools or rivers close by, they will bury themselves in the soil of the river bed or pool for nearly ten months. Overtime they lose their tail and develop legs and lungs. When they exit the water they usually measure around ⅓ of an inch.
Males have a distinctive mating call, which is very high pitched, and may be difficult to hear. This high pitched call becomes more distinct with the age of the animal.
Glass Frogs have taken to life primarily in trees, and are thus classified as arboreal animals. Glass Frogs usually eat at night, but in the rainy season, which is from May to November in Costa Rica, they can be found eating in the day time. Hard shelled insects are nearly indigestible for these little creatures, so glass frogs primarily eat small spiders, crickets and flies due to their soft exoskeletons.
Since Glass Frogs are nocturnal, they spend most of their days resting and hiding under tree foliage. At night they head out to pursue their prey, or possibly to look for a mate depending on the season.
The Taxonomy of the Glass Frogs is under debate, and many scientists have been unsure of how exactly to classify the species. Originally the species was believed to be part of the Hylidae family, but is now considered a member of the family Leptodactylidae after further scientific analysis of its genetic background.
Where to see it in Costa Rica: Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Tortuguero National Park
Diet: crickets, fruit flies, spiders, springtails
Habitat: humid montane forests
Size: length=19-32 mm weight=unsubstantial
Species: Hyalinobatrachium Fleischmanni