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:

Review: Cold Blood - Adventures With Reptiles And Amphibians by Richard Kerridge

Although I absolutely adore reading about wildlife, when it comes to the usual nature writing book, I tend to struggle with the cheesiness. Now, I don't mean to say that all nature writing books are cheesy. In fact, there are some very good nature writing books out there. However, generally speaking, the vast majority of these types of books will contain a certain element of human philosophy and self-discovery through nature that, to be completely honest, bores me a bit.

When Cold Blood first came out, I was pretty excited for a couple of reasons. Number one, this was an actual fairly famous nature writing book about reptiles and amphibians. Number two, for the first time ever, it was quite possible that I would empathise with the cheesy bits rather than be bored by them. I am happy to announce that the verdict is extremely positive.

Kerridge manages to relay his passion for these creatures not only in a touching way but also in a distinctly informative way. He manages to educate the readers about different types of reptiles and amphibians whilst keeping the readers captivated with the story. In short, he educates people in an engaging and fun way - like an exceptionally good teacher that makes you fall in love with a subject that you may not have otherwise enjoyed. Therefore, you can imagine what his book meant for someone like me. Someone who shares his passion and fascination.

If you like reptiles and amphibians, you will want to read this book. If, however, you have never thought about reptiles and amphibians before, you most definitely need to read this book. You will fall in love with them and thank me afterwards.