Among the many weird and fascinating amphibians on our planet, very special are the Glass Frogs. This amazing frog family has a transparent skin, allowing you to view inside its small body. They are so transparent that it almost looks as if they melt into the leaves and become one with them. Transparent animals like these frogs are spectacular to see.
Glass frogs belongs to amphibian family Centrolenidae (Order Anura) are generally small, ranging from 3 to 7.5 cm (1.2 to 3.0 in) length. Glass frogs are mostly arboreal. Glass frogs live in and among the trees and plants of humid mountain forests in Central and South America. Higher up the mountain the rainforests are called cloud forests because the trees are almost always covered in clouds. Glass frogs are mostly active at night, which makes them very difficult to spot for predators.
They live along rivers and streams during the breeding season. The eggs are usually deposited on the leaves of trees or shrubs hanging over the running water of mountain streams, creeks, and small rivers. One species leaves its eggs over stones close to waterfalls. The method of egg-laying on the leaf varies between species. These eggs are less vulnerable to predators than those lay within water, but are affected by the parasitic maggots of some fly species. As a result, some glass frogs show parental care. In many species, glass frog females brood their eggs, during the night the eggs are fertilized which improves the survival of the eggs, while in some species male glass frog stays on guard for much longer period. After they hatch, the tadpoles fall into the waters below. The tadpoles are elongated, with powerful tails and low fins, suited for fast-flowing water. Outside of the breeding season, some species live in the canopy. When breeding is over, most glass frog species go back to live high up in the canopy.
Conservationists are especially interested in these beautiful frogs because they may be good bio indicators. A bio indicator is a species that provides clues about the health of the environment where it lives. As the Earth’s weather changes, some of the rain- and cloud forests where Glass Frogs live are becoming too dry, making life difficult for the frogs, as well as other plants and animals. By watching the glass frogs, scientists can learn what impact global warming has on these forests and the amazing species that inhabit them.