Alien Earthlings

in Drake Bay, Costa Rica

 

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Click to Glass Frog Home Page

 
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

 

The Reticulated Glass Frog

Hyalinobatrachium valerioi

 

Reticulated Glass Frogs are a real treat to behold. A small species, they only measure between 23 and 26 mm as adults. Rare to see in Drake Bay, we have only encountered the Reticulated Glass Frog once on the Night Tour. Reticulated Glass Frog - Hyalinobatrachium valerioi

This frog is absolutely spectacular and really lives up to it's reputation as a glass frog. The belly is completely transparent, so all the internal organs are visible.

On the Caribbean side, the liver, heart and digestive organs are covered by a white lining, but the yellow-green gall bladder is visible as well as their white bones and the red ventral vein. Frogs living on the Osa Peninsula differ from those on the Caribbean in that their red heart is at least partially uncovered and is also visible. This can be appreciated in the photographs above as well as below.

But it's not just their transparent skin that makes these Reticulated Glass Frogs amazing.

Their complex lives are just as fascinating. Males gather in the vegetation along small streams and call from the undersides of leaves in hope of attracting a female.  Reticulated Glass Frog - Hyalinobatrachium valerioi

When a male's territory is invaded by a rouge male it is unacceptable, and the resident will initially "chirp" out a warning. If this doesn't drive off the intruder, the situation may escalate to physical combat.

The males will wrestle until one of the combatants is pinned down, with his butt touching the leaf, for a short period of time. After he is released, the loser will retreat while the victor gets back to the business of finding a mate.

Females, who don't generally inhabit the calling site, move in to the stream-side vegetation from the surrounding forest. After listening to the males call, a female will approach one she is attracted to. When she meets him at the calling site, they will mate and she will lay her egg clutch on the underside of a leaf.

Egg clutches are made up of 25 to 40 eggs. After the eggs have been fertilized, the male will position himself beside the egg clutch and will care for it 24 hours per day. The female will leave the stream shortly after mating.

Reticulated Glass Frog - Hyalinobatrachium valerioiMales continue calling once the eggs have been laid, and may attract other females. Some males have been documented guarding up to seven egg clutches in various stages of development!

The eggs bear a close resemblance to the dotted pattern on the frog's back, providing him with camouflage as he guards them.

Camouflage allows him to stand guard unnoticed and eat up any small parasitic flies that approach his eggs. It also puts the element of surprise in his favor when fending off a larger threat, like a katydid or a wasp. Male Reticulated Glass Frog With Eggs - Hyalinobatrachium valerioi

Not only will he protect his offspring from wasps, parasitic flies and katydids; he will also protect them from dehydration. 

As seen in this picture, the male will periodically place himself on top of the eggs and empty his bladder, keeping them moist.

As the eggs develop, they get darker and the tadpoles are pink when they leave the egg clutch. Reticulated Glass Frogs are only know to exist in Costa Rica, Panama, and parts of Colombia.

 

 

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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