More than 100 species of green glass frogs exist, all in the family Centrolenidae. Transparent green glass frogs, named for their translucent skin, are not easy to find and observe. Their green tint blends with their environment, and they inhabit remote areas. Green glass frogs give short, high-frequency chirps, although there is some variation of pitch among the calls of different species.
Transparent green glass frogs vary in length from 0.75 inch to 3 inches. They range in color from soft lime green to dark olive green, often sprinkled with white, green, black or blue speckles. Two genera, Cochranella and Centrolene, have green bones, seen through their translucent skin. The lower abdominal area is viewable through the skin, too. Hyalinobatrachium, the third recognized genus, have white bones. Their internal organs are visible, except for the digestive organs, which are concealed.
Transparent green glass frogs are found in the tropical rainforests of Central America, South America and southern Mexico, at altitudes ranging from sea level to 2.36 miles above sea level. Many glass frogs live in leaf canopies high above the ground when they are not breeding. Some species frequent dense vegetation near the edges of creeks and streams in the forests.
Transparent green glass frogs are nocturnal feeders. From dusk to early evening and mornings before sunrise are glass frogs' most active foraging times. During the rainy season they may be observed feeding in the daytime. Soft bodied insects and spiders are the glass frog's prey. Green glass frogs have forward-facing eyes that enable them to see prey directly in front of them. Holding their mouths open, they leap forward and grab their prey.
Green glass frogs breed after a rain or during a light shower, usually late at night or early in the morning. After mating, females deposit 20 to 30 clear eggs on the underside of leaves that hang over the water's edge. The male frogs provide parental care, keeping the eggs moist and protecting them from parasitic insects. The glass frog eggs hatch approximately two weeks later.
During a rain, the tadpoles hatch from the eggs and drop into the water. Green glass frog tadpoles bury themselves in the substrate and stay there for up to 10 months. During this time, their bodies gradually absorb their tails, and they develop legs and lungs. Juvenile frogs measure about one-third of an inch in length when they exit the water.
Glass Frogs as Pets
Pet green glass frogs require a large terrarium, tall enough to accommodate an abundance of tall, smooth-leaved plants. They need a moving stream, with plants overhanging the water, and a deep substrate. Glass frogs are nocturnal, so they need near-total darkness at night. Feed them at night and give them an abundant supply of a large variety of foods, such as crickets, fruit flies and springtails, to satisfy their large appetites.
Karen Mihaylo has been a writer since 2009. She has been a professional dog groomer since 1982 and is certified in canine massage therapy. Mihaylo holds an associate degree in human services from Delaware Technical and Community College.