Glass Frogs Hide Blood In Their Liver To Become Transparent While Sleeping

Did you know that in Central and South America there is a species of frog known as the northern glass frog?

If you’ve never heard of them or seen them, don’t feel too bad because they have the ability to go transparent!

Photo: Flickr/Oliver Castaneda License: CC BY 2.0

These frogs can alter their appearance in order to be transparent, according to the Journal, Science. They sleep most of the day, hanging out underneath the leaves of trees, and interestingly, since they are transparent, they don’t cast a shadow. Predators can walk right underneath them and they never know it.

In the nighttime when they wake up and begin looking for insects and other frogs to mate with, they turn more of a red-brown color. In other words, they go transparent for their safety, and according to a Duke University press release, biomedical engineer, Junjie Yao, reveales they have adapted to remain hidden.

Photo: Flickr/Brian Gratwicke License: CC BY 2.0

Researchers have been able to dig into the reason why they are able to go transparent and they discovered something interesting. The frog’s blood concentrates in its liver while they are sleeping. In fact, almost 90% of the red blood cells are found in the liver during that time.

The frogs themselves have transparent skin and tissue. The only reason that they have that reddish-brown color during the daytime is because of the blood flowing through them. When the blood goes into their liver, they essentially disappear.

Photo: Flickr/Charles Sharp License: CC BY 2.0

Although we know why it happens, we still don’t know how they do it and why they don’t die as a result of the blood being in one area of the body. We can only imagine that if our blood went to our liver and concentrated there for hours at a time, we wouldn’t do very well as a species.

They may be able to discover more when they have further research and he could actually help to develop anti-blood clotting medications.

Worldwide, very few animals are able to be naturally transparent and many of them are found in the ocean. According to KTLA News, an Oxford University biologist said: “Transparency is super rare in nature, and in land animals, it’s essentially unheard of outside of the glass frog.”

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