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Glass Frogs: Centrolenidae

La Palma Glass Frog (hyalinobatrachium Valerioi): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Also known as the reticulated glass frog, the La Palma glass frog's head and smooth back are yellow or slightly orange yellow with a net pattern that is green with dark spots. The net pattern forms a series of circles. Looked at another way, the back appears green with large yellow to slightly orange yellow spots. The legs have the same colors and pattern, and the hind legs are especially long and thin. The toes, which are almost completely transparent, have some webbing. Unlike the smooth back, the belly and the thighs are slightly wrinkly. Its bones are white. Males grow to 0.8 to 1.0 inches (2.03 to 2.54 centimeters) from snout to rump. Females are about the same size.

Geographic range: The La Palma glass frog lives in Costa Rica and Panama in Central America and in Ecuador and Colombia in South America.

Of all the glass frogs, most of which care for their eggs, the male La Palma glass frog spends the most time with his young. (Illustration by Emily Damstra. Reproduced by permission.)

Habitat: According to the IUCN, it lives in lowland forests below 1,312 feet (400 meters) above sea level, especially in plants and trees that line streams.

Diet: Its diet is unknown.

Behavior and reproduction: Scientists know little about its behavior outside of its breeding, but if the La Palma glass frog is like many other glass frogs, it probably hides in plants during the day and becomes active at night. To mate, the male calls in females with a short "seet" whistle that it repeats again and again. Males and females mate, and the females lay their eggs on leaves above streams. The eggs, which may number about three dozen, are pale green and surrounded with gel. After she lays her eggs, the female leaves, but the male stays behind to provide 24-hour-a-day protection to the eggs. Of all the glass frogs, most of which care for their eggs, the male La Palma glass frog spends the most time with his young. The color and pattern on the male's back looks very much like the clump of eggs he guards. This may confuse predators and cause them to leave both the adult male and the eggs alone.

La Palma glass frogs and people: Few people have ever seen this frog.

Conservation status: The IUCN lists this species as being of Least Concern, which means there is no known threat of extinction and the animal does not qualify for any of the "threatened" categories. The La Palma glass frog lives over a large area and seems to be doing quite well, but conservationists are still watching it carefully. Parts of its forests are disappearing to farming, logging, and land for building, and this may eventually cause problems for the frog. Some of its forest home lies within protected areas, which are off limits to tree-cutting. ∎

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceAmphibiansGlass Frogs: Centrolenidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Glass Frogs And People, Conservation Status, Lynch's Cochran Frog (cochranella Ignota): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET