When a glassfrog falls asleep, it vanishes. Nestled atop a lush leaf, the frog’s bright green back blends right in, while its underbelly’s reddish hue quickly grows transparent.
Now, a new study in the journal Science (opens in new tab) reveals that the northern glassfrog (Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni) pulls off this feat by removing almost 90% of its red blood cells from circulation and packing them into its liver. The findings reveal how one of the only transparent land animals hides its blood.
“If you really want to be transparent, you need to hide your red blood cells,” study co-author Sönke Johnsen (opens in new tab), a professor of biology at Duke University in North Carolina, told Live Science. “These glassfrogs are — by some process; we don’t know the details — filtering red blood cells out of their blood and cramming them into their livers so tightly that it should create a clot. But it doesn’t.”
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