Remember the popular show, The Muppet Show with its interesting characters, hosted by Kermit the Frog, then you will be amazed when you will see life Kermit blissfully thriving in Nature. Yes, there is a life Kermit in Nature that has been recently discovered deep in the jungles of Costa Rica.
This show entertained us for decades and for many people the most famous creation of Jim Henson was Kermit the Frog. This has been the most popular puppet show in the whole world watched by millions of children and adults. Everyone remembers the famous line of Kermit: “Hi-ho, Kermit the Frog here!”
So, you can imagine the surprise of the scientists when they encountered almost an identical twin of the celebrity frog. The discovery was a result of over a century work in the Talamanca Mountains, but it was worth it as the tiny, semi-translucent frog looks adorable and very much like our favorite frog, Kermit. Its scientific name is Hyalinobatrachium dianae and has a translucent underbelly and bulging white eyes. This is a new species of glass frog, and up to now there are 149 known glass species in the world. This glass frog is an inch-long and has entered the group of other 13 existing glass frogs in Costa Rica.
This was a great discovery for the scientists as glass frogs are very rare, living only in some parts of South and Central America. Their natural habitat is near streams and creeks living high in tree canopies descending only when it is breeding time.
In appearance they are unique as due to skin pigmentation they are the most translucent of all glass frogs. Thanks to the green coloration they nicely camouflage on the undersides of leaves during the day. Hence, their green translucent color with their popping big, bright black and white eyes offer the impeccable image of the Kermit the Frog.
The discovery of the H. dianae species was made by Brian Kubicki, Stanley Salazar, and Robert Puschendorf, between 400m and 800m up the mountain of Talamanca. This frog is the first discovery of this type of species in Costa Rica in over 40 years.
The scientists named the frog after the mother of Brian, Janet Diana Kubicki, and in honor of the Roman hunting goddess Diana.
The Costa Rica Area is known for the residence of glass frogs, but the last one has been revealed in the last century, in 1973, and since then there was no new discovery, except for Kermit. The H. dianae species differs from other frogs in many morphological and genetic features. Aside the distinctive poppy Kermit eyes, it has long and thin feet. It is a nocturnal frog that releases a unique long metallic whistle with rapid pulses when attracting females. This mating call is more similar to insects than to frogs, but thanks to this insect-like call this frog remained hidden for so long. Naturally, the remoteness of Costa Rica’s Caribbean foothills contributed to be hidden form the human eyes. Scientists collected only six specimens from the sites of the Caribbean foothills, and fortunately this species lives mainly in protected conservation areas with few roads, offering a great chance for survival.
According to the biologist, Steven Whitfield, a National Geographic grantee studying frogs in Costa Rica, the survival of this glass frog is very high due to the altitude they live in protecting them from the chytrid fungus. This fungus is deadly for fogs as it attacks their amphibian skin and has already made extinct several frog species from Costa Rica and worldwide since the 1980s.
Whitfield also warns about the possible threat of their extinction due to the ongoing deforestation:
“It’s pretty cool to see that they’ve found a new species when there are so many that may have been lost.”