Have a look at this puppy*; isn’t it gorgeous?
*Yes, I know it’s not a dog, for crying out loud!
It’s a glass frog from Peru, one of four newly-discovered species described in a new paper in Zootaxa by Evan Twomey et al. (reference and link below, but you’ll get only the abstract, and would have to pay big bucks for the paper. Thanks to Evan for sending me the pdf). There’s also a National Geographic blurb which is more accessible than the 87-page monograph, which goes into detail about the frogs’ discovery, description, anatomy, biogeography, phylogeny (based on both nuclear and mitochondrial DNA), “environmental niche models,” their vocalizations and so on. It’s an excellent and comprehensive analysis of this group. And, because I’m a good boy, I went through the whole monograph last night rather than spoon-feeding you what’s in the National Geographic summary. Here are some photos and a few of the authors’ conclusions about the frogs.
Here’s the “type locality” of C. corleone. It would be nice to do field work in such a place!:
Reproduction in species of Chimerella, including C. corleone (a, b, and d; see caption of figure). Males apparently guard the egg masses, which are laid on leaves, and tadpoles, when they hatch, drop into the water:
The third new species, Cochranella guayasamani:
Here are its tadpoles, which also start out transparent but are pink (reasons for the color and transparency unknown). On the right you can see the eggs hatching and the tadpoles dropping off the leaves into the water:
And the fourth new species, Hylinobatrachium anachoretus, the only one found in cloud forest (2050 m). In (b) you can see the ventral view, with the veins, viscera, and heart clearly visible. In (e) you can see a male guarding its clutch; these frogs have parental care. Why are they transparent? Who knows?
Finally, here are ventral views of three species in the genus Hylinobatrachium, showing their transparency. Look at the heart, the veins, and the guts!
These frogs live in relatively inaccessible places, and even in the places where they live they aren’t common. There are many questions about them, including the reasons for their remarkable transparency), but the answers will be hard to come by. How do you figure out why a frog that is so rare is transparent? What kind of experiments can you do?
Twomey, E., J. Delia, and S. Castroviejo-Fisher. 2014. A review of Northern Peruvian glassfrogs (Centrolenidae), with the description of four new remarkable species. Zootaxa 3851:1-87.