Glass Frogs (Family Centrolenidae) and the Cuyaba Dwarf Frog (Eupemphix Nattereri)


Nature is full of creatures with amazing ways to defend themselves. Aside from loss and contamination of natural habitat, predation is one of the greatest causes of death in amphibians.  In fact, studies show that the vast majority of frogs and toads will not survive long enough to produce offspring.

Whereas some frogs are famous for their poisonous skin and bright colours, others rely on less offensive methods to defend themselves. In this post I present you the glass frogs of the family Centrolenidae and the Cyaba Dwarf Frog (Eupemphix Nattereri). 

Let's start with the Glass Frogs. They are so named because the skin on their bellies is transparent. Due to this characteristic, glass frogs are known to have been used for teaching purposes. Out of the three genera in this family - Centrolene, Cochranella and Hyalinobatrachium - frogs of the subfamily Hyalinobatrachium have the most 'see through' belly skin. It is believed that the transparent skin helps these frogs to camouflage with their background and trick predators.

The Cuyaba Dwarf Frog, however, relies on a completely different method. This frog has two black and white round markings on its lower back. When threatened, it fools any would-be predators by inflating its body, lowering its head and lifting its rear end to display the markings. The markings justify this frog's famous nick-name - The False-Eyed frog. 

However, the markings are not just an intimidation display. Should the initial showing of the markings fail to deter a predator, glands within the markings produce a noxious secretion aimed at the predator's mouth.

The below videos show both frogs in action: