AmphibiaWeb - Centrolenidae
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Centrolenidae

159 species in 12 genera

Commonly Called Glass Frogs


Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni
Photo by Twan Leenders
(Click for family gallery)

Centrolenid frogs derive their common name from the transparent ventral skin, through which internal organs can be seen in many species. Most Centrolenids are a shade of green, ranging from light lime green to dark green. Members of this family also have green bones as a result of green bile salts. Studies have shown that glass frogs contain a unique pigment in their skin that reflects the same wavelength infrared radiation that plants do, possibly another adaptation for concealment. Most glass frogs are small (30 mm snout-vent length) with one exception, Centrolene geckoideum, which attains a length of 77 mm. Eggs are usually deposited on rocks or plants overhanging water, and are sometimes guarded by territorial males. The larvae drop into the water upon hatching and burrow in the sand or detritus at the bottom.

Species of this group occur from Central America south through Venezuela, Bolivia, Argentina, and southern Brazil in high montane forests with streams.

News Highlight
October 23, 2017: Parental care in frogs is a fascinating, yet understudied facet of amphibian behavioral ecology. This behavior is rare, in fact, only 10-20% of anurans. Delia et al. (2017) recently explored the functional dynamics, sex-role characteristics, and evolution of parental care in glass frogs of the family Centrolenidae. Their integrative study of 40 species combined behavioral field observations, maternal commitment assays, disturbance trials, predation experiments, and comparative phylogenetic methods to both elucidate patterns of care, and analyze the evolution of sex-roles. Parental care was observed for all 40 species, including eight for which care has never been documented. The care-giving sex was variable across the family, and phylogenetic analyses suggested that rather than no care-to-male care transitions, male care evolved two to three times from female-only care. Moreover, they suggest that extended parental care past brooding was associated with male care state transitions.

January 25, 2016: Parental care in anurans usually takes the form of attendance of eggs. Male attendance of eggs laid on vegetation has evolved independently in two genera of the glass frogs, family Centrolenidae: within Centrolene and within Hyalinobatrachium. Valencia and Delia (2016) have discovered parental care in a third clade of centrolenids, Ikakogi tayrona, the geographically (Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia) and phylogenetically isolated sister-taxon of all other centrolenids. Unexpectedly, the attendance in Ikakogi tayrona is by females. Care functions are similar in both males and females, but females are somewhat more risk-tolerant, probably reflecting the more direct link to fitness in females. (DW)

Written by AmphibiaWeb

Notable Family Characteristics

  • Inhabits wet montane rainforests
  • Eggs are deposited on leaves, in some species overhanging water into which hatched tadpoles fall
  • Some form of parental care, from males and/or females, exhibited
  • Many species are known for their territoriality, and males will fight each other; some species have humeral spines, presumably used in combat.
  • Morphological characters uniting this clade are: 1) astragalus and calcaneum completely fused (convergent with Pelodytidae); 2) dilated medial process on third metacarpal; 3) T-shaped terminal phalanges (convergent with other groups); 4) 8 presacral vertebrae; 5) ribs absent; 6) pectoral girdle arciferal; 7) palatines present; 8) ventral side and sometimes gastrointestinal organs transparent; 9) green bones
  • Distribution limited to Central America through South America, from Venezuela south through Bolivia, Argentina, and southern Brazil
Centrolenidae Richness map

Cartography Credit: Zoe Yoo, UC Berkeley
Range maps sources: AmphibiaWeb, UC Berkeley, and IUCN RedList

Relevant Reference

Pough, F. H., R. M. Andrews, M. L. Crump, A. H. Savitzky, K. D. Wells, and M. C. Brandley. 2015. Herpetology. Fourth Edition. Massachusetts: Sinauer.

Vitt, L. J., and J. P. Caldwell. 2013. Herpetology. An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Fourth Edition. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Subfamily Centroleninae (122 species)

Genus Centrolene (30 species)    [subfamily Centroleninae]
Centrolene acanthidiocephalum no account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene altitudinalis no account photos no sound/video
Centrolene antioquiense no account photos no sound/video
Centrolene azulae account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene ballux account photos no sound/video
Centrolene buckleyi no account photos no sound/video
Centrolene charapita account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene condor account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene daidalea account photos no sound/video
Centrolene geckoideum no account photos no sound/video
Centrolene heloderma account photos no sound/video
Centrolene hesperium no account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene huilense account photos no sound/video
Centrolene hybrida account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene lemniscatum no account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene lynchi no account photos no sound/video
Centrolene medemi no account photos no sound/video
Centrolene muelleri no account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene notosticta account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene paezorum no account photos no sound/video
Centrolene peristicta no account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene petrophilum account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene pipilatum no account photos no sound/video
Centrolene quindianum account photos no sound/video
Centrolene robledoi account photos no sound/video
Centrolene sabini account photos no sound/video
Centrolene sanchezi account photos no sound/video
Centrolene savagei account photos no sound/video
Centrolene solitaria account no photos no sound/video
Centrolene venezuelense no account no photos no sound/video

Genus Chimerella (2 species)    [subfamily Centroleninae]
Chimerella corleone no account photos no sound/video
Chimerella mariaelenae account photos no sound/video

Genus Cochranella (16 species)    [subfamily Centroleninae]
Cochranella duidaeana no account no photos no sound/video
Cochranella erminea account photos no sound/video
Cochranella euhystrix no account photos no sound/video
Cochranella euknemos account photos no sound/video
Cochranella geijskesi no account no photos no sound/video
Cochranella granulosa account photos no sound/video
Cochranella guayasamini no account photos no sound/video
Cochranella litoralis account no photos no sound/video
Cochranella mache account photos no sound/video
Cochranella megista no account no photos no sound/video
Cochranella nola account photos no sound/video
Cochranella ocellifera no account no photos no sound/video
Cochranella ramirezi account no photos no sound/video
Cochranella resplendens no account photos no sound/video
Cochranella riveroi no account no photos no sound/video
Cochranella xanthocheridia account no photos no sound/video

Genus Espadarana (5 species)    [subfamily Centroleninae]
Espadarana andina account photos sound/video
Espadarana audax no account photos no sound/video
Espadarana callistomma account photos no sound/video
Espadarana durrellorum no account photos no sound/video
Espadarana prosoblepon account photos no sound/video

Genus Ikakogi (2 species)    [subfamily Centroleninae]
Ikakogi ispacue no account no photos no sound/video
Ikakogi tayrona account photos no sound/video

Genus Nymphargus (41 species)    [subfamily Centroleninae]
Nymphargus anomalus account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus armatus no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus balionotus no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus bejaranoi no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus buenaventura no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus cariticommatus no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus caucanus no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus chami account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus chancas no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus cochranae no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus colomai no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus cristinae account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus garciae account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus grandisonae no account photos sound/video
Nymphargus griffithsi no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus humboldti no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus ignotus no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus lasgralarias no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus laurae account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus lindae no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus luminosus account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus luteopunctatus account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus manduriacu no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus mariae account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus megacheirus no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus mixomaculatus no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus nephelophila account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus ocellatus no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus oreonympha account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus phenax no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus pluvialis no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus posadae account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus prasinus no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus rosada no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus ruizi no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus siren no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus spilotus no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus sucre no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus truebae no account photos no sound/video
Nymphargus vicenteruedai no account no photos no sound/video
Nymphargus wileyi no account photos no sound/video

Genus Rulyrana (6 species)    [subfamily Centroleninae]
Rulyrana adiazeta account photos no sound/video
Rulyrana flavopunctata no account photos no sound/video
Rulyrana mcdiarmidi no account photos no sound/video
Rulyrana saxiscandens no account photos no sound/video
Rulyrana spiculata no account photos no sound/video
Rulyrana susatamai account photos no sound/video

Genus Sachatamia (5 species)    [subfamily Centroleninae]
Sachatamia albomaculata account photos no sound/video
Sachatamia electrops no account photos no sound/video
Sachatamia ilex account photos no sound/video
Sachatamia orejuela account no photos no sound/video
Sachatamia punctulata account photos no sound/video

Genus Teratohyla (5 species)    [subfamily Centroleninae]
Teratohyla adenocheira account no photos no sound/video
Teratohyla amelie account no photos no sound/video
Teratohyla midas account photos no sound/video
Teratohyla pulverata account photos no sound/video
Teratohyla spinosa account photos no sound/video

Genus Vitreorana (10 species)    [subfamily Centroleninae]
Vitreorana antisthenesi no account photos no sound/video
Vitreorana baliomma no account photos no sound/video
Vitreorana castroviejoi no account photos no sound/video
Vitreorana eurygnatha account photos no sound/video
Vitreorana franciscana no account no photos no sound/video
Vitreorana gorzulae account no photos no sound/video
Vitreorana helenae no account no photos no sound/video
Vitreorana parvula account no photos no sound/video
Vitreorana ritae account no photos no sound/video
Vitreorana uranoscopa account photos sound/video
Subfamily Hyalinobatrachinae (37 species)

Genus Celsiella (2 species)    [subfamily Hyalinobatrachinae]
Celsiella revocata no account no photos no sound/video
Celsiella vozmedianoi no account photos no sound/video

Genus Hyalinobatrachium (35 species)    [subfamily Hyalinobatrachinae]
Hyalinobatrachium adespinosai account no photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium anachoretus no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium aureoguttatum no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium bergeri no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium cappellei no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium carlesvilai no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium chirripoi account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium colymbiphyllum account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium dianae account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium duranti no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium esmeralda no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium fragile no account no photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium guairarepanense no account no photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium iaspidiense account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium ibama no account no photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium kawense no account no photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium lemur no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium mesai no account no photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium mondolfii no account no photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium muiraquitan no account no photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium munozorum no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium orientale no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium orocostale no account no photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium pallidum no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium pellucidum no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium petersi no account no photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium talamancae account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium tatayoi no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium taylori no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium tricolor no account no photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium valerioi account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium vireovittatum account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium viridissimum no account photos no sound/video
Hyalinobatrachium yaku account no photos no sound/video


Citation: AmphibiaWeb: Information on amphibian biology and conservation. [web application]. Berkeley, California: AmphibiaWeb. Available: https://amphibiaweb.org/. (Accessed:

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