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Ever Seen a 'Glass Frog'? New Study Reveals How it Remains Translucent

(Image credit: Twitter/ @loretobgude)

(Image credit: Twitter/ @loretobgude)

The research paper, titled ‘Imperfect transparency and camouflage in glass frogs’ was published in the journal PNAS recently.

For years, scientists knew about the existence of glass frogs with see-through skin. However, little did we know that these creatures are able to camouflage their skin translucent according to the surroundings.

A research team including scientists from the University of Bristol, McMaster University in Canada and Universidad de las Americas in Ecuador, have successfully studied the camouflage process in glass frogs. According to their research, these glass frogs change its skin in order to protect themselves from predators and improve the protection.

The research paper, titled ‘Imperfect transparency and camouflage in glass frogs’ was published in the journal PNAS recently.

Dr. James Barnett, the key author of the study, stated that he began his research when he was a PhD student at the University of Bristol in the UK. He observed that these frogs are not completely transparent or invisible. In fact, they seem to appear green, being translucent rather than transparent.

In the press release by the University of Bristol, Dr Barnett mentioned, “The frogs are always green but appear to brighten and darken depending on the background. The legs are more translucent than the body and so when the legs are held tucked to the frog’s sides at rest, this creates a diffuse gradient from leaf colour to frog colour, suggests a novel form of camouflage: ‘edge diffusion’”.

Transparency is quite rare in terrestrial animals as air and tissue are quite different in their refractive indices. However, glass frogs turn out to be the rarest of the rare creatures.

The study also proves the point that camouflage is indeed an example of Darwin’s natural selection theory, as these creatures are able to save themselves for a longer period.