Glamorous Glass frogs… jewels of the forest.

Glamorous Glass frogs… jewels of the forest.

It is true to say that until recently my herpetological interests focussed primarily on reptiles, well snakes in fact. That is until my regular forays to the tropical forests of Guatemala started two years ago in 2012.

Since then my interest in amphibians has been piqued. Having said that though, one group of neotropical frogs has captured my imagination since my first visit to Costa Rica in 2010.

Throughout the neotropics you can find, if you are lucky, little translucent green jewels known as glass frogs.

They get their name from their completely transparent undersides which are so clear that you can see all the internal organs. There are approximately 150 species of glass frogs that are found from southern Mexico to through to South America as far as northeastern Argentina (Köhler 2011).

Only one species makes it as far north as Guatemala and Mexico, Fleischmann’s glass frog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni). It also has one of the widest distributions of any glass frog species and is found throughout Central America and into South America.


Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni  - Fleischmanns glass frog with tail

Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni – Fleischmanns glass frog


During our first night in the cloud forests of Coban in June 2014 we saw two individuals. Both were new metamorphs and had only recently emerged from the forest stream we were surveying. One even had its long tail in tact, it must have only been out of the water a few hours at most.

What struck me the most while looking at the photos I had taken is that not only are glass frogs transparent from below but also translucent from above, you can see their spinal column and some internal organs in the photos.

Glass frogs are truly incredible creatures. I look forward with anticipation of seeing more this coming May when we return for our next expedition to Community Cloud Forest Conservation (16 May to 29 May 2015).

Announcing Next Expeditions: 16 – 29 May 2016


If you feel called to join us… just get in touch!

– Rowland

(Köhler, G. 2011. Amphibians of Central America. Herpeton Verlag, Offenbach)

Published : 28th December 2014

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