Alien Earthlings

in Drake Bay, Costa Rica

 

 

Tracie "The Bug Lady"  invites you  on an out  of this world  walk on...
The Dark Side

Discover the hidden treasures of Drake Bay,  Costa Rica with Tracie "The Bug Lady"

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Emerald Glass Frog - Cenrtolenella prosobleponCascade Glass Frog - Cochranella albomaculataGranular Glass Frog - Cochranella granulosaCricket Glass Frog - Hylinobatrachium colymbiphyllumDusty Glass Frog - Hylinobatrachium pulveratumReticulated Glass Frog - Hylinobatrachium valerioi
Emerald Glass Frog

Espadarana prosoblepon

Cascade Glass Frog

Sachatamia albomaculata

Granular Glass Frog

Cochranella granulosa

Cricket Glass Frog

Hyalinobatrachium colymbiphyllum

Dusty Glass Frog

Teratohyla pulveratum

Reticulated Glass Frog

Hyalinobatrachium valerioi

 

What could possibly be more alien than a creature with big, bulging black eyes and green transparent skin...skin through which you could see it's bones and internal organs? Cricket Glass Frog - Hyalinobatrachium colymbiphyllum

The amazing glass frogs are true gems, some of the most beautiful  and delicate creatures you will encounter in a Tropical Rainforest. They are so fragile, in fact, that the direct hit of a large raindrop may be enough to kill one!

 Because Glass Frogs tend to inhabit streams, it is uncommon for us to encounter them on The Night Tour. About 140 species of glass frog have been identified, 65 of which were just discovered between 1989 and 1998. All glass frogs make their homes in Central and South America. Costa Rica has a total of thirteen species. Throughout the streams and rivers of the Osa Peninsula, scientists have identified six glass frog species. Each Glass Frog species found in Drake Bay has its own page on this website.   

 

Glass Frogs are typically tree dwellers and it is rare to see one on the ground. Their green, translucent skin makes the frogs virtually undetectable when resting quietly on a leaf. This superb camouflage also gives the frogs an edge when hunting the small insects and flies they prey on. Granular Glass Frog - Cochranella granulosaForward facing eyes, which distinguish glass frogs from other tree frogs, give them binocular vision. Good vision, coupled with incredible camouflage and feline agility, make this unassuming little frog a formidable predator.

Glass Frogs are mostly nocturnal and are most active in rainy or very humid conditions. At this time, males call from their perches, hoping to lure in a female. If a female approaches a calling male, the two will join in amplexus and will lay their egg clutch  on the tip of a leaf overhanging a stream. After about two weeks, the little tadpoles will squirm from the eggs. This is often triggered by a heavy rain. They fall into the stream and feed on organic matter they scavenge from the bottom. This stage of their metamorphosis may last several months and virtually nothing is known about it. In fact, the tadpoles of 6 out of 14 Costa Rican glass frog species were just recently described by scientists.

 

 

When the young frogs leave the water, they are minute. In some species as small as 16 millimeters. We found the frog pictured above after a Night Tour in the vegetation near a stream by our home. You can see how tiny it is compared to Tracie's fingers in the photo. It still had it's tadpole tail and had probably emerged from the stream that night. Click on the picture for a close up shot.

 

Cascade Glass Frog - Cochranella albomaculataFinding glass frogs, even in the best of conditions, is always challenging. One thing is for sure, you are going to get wet. These frogs often occupy the vegetation overhanging streams and are most active on rainy nights.

Many sit on top of leaves while calling, making them difficult to see from below. Their small size and perfect camouflage make it even more difficult.

It's easy to understand why much of their lives remains a mystery to science.

For us, every time we encounter a glass frog it is a special occasion and we consider ourselves very fortunate. All of the glass frogs featured here were encountered and photographed in the wild on the Osa Peninsula.

 

Dusty Glass Frog - Hyalinobatrachium pulveratum

Precious little information is available

on the natural history of glass frogs. This site is indebted to Brian Kubicki's wonderful publication Costa Rica Glass Frogs, the first detailed book ever written about these amazing amphibians.  It will undoubtedly prove invaluable to anyone interested in learning about glass frogs.

 

 

References:

Kubicki, B.  2007  Costa Rica Glass Frogs  Editorial INBio

Leenders, T.  2001  A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica  Zona Tropical

Savage, J.  2002  The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica   University of Chicago Press

 

The Frog Files

Frogs Home Page

Common Rain Frog - Craugastor fitzingeri

Gaufy Leaf Frog - Agalychnis callidryas

Gladiator Tree Frog - Hypsiboas rosenbergi

Glass Frogs Home Page

Emerald Glass Frog - Centrolenella prosobleponCascade Glass Frog - Cochranella albomaculataGranular Glass Frog - Cochranella granulosaCricket Glass Frog - Hyalinobatrachium colymbiphyllumDusty Glass Frog - Hyalinobatrachium pulveratumReticulated Glass Frog - Hyalinobatrachium valerioi

Gliding Leaf Frog - Agalychnis spurrelli

Hourglass Tree Frog - Dendropsophus ebraccatus

Giant Marine Toad - Bufo marinus

Masked Tree Frog - Smilisca phaeota

Smoky Jungle Frog - Leptodactylus petadactylus

Tink Frog - Diasporus diastema

Salamanders - Order: Caudata

 

 

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Costa Rica Tel: (506) 8701-7356 / (506) 8701-7462

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