Newly discovered glass frog has transparent belly, looks like Kermit

When you're a superstar Muppet, apparently you have to hide out in the jungles of Costa Rica to avoid the paparazzi.

Michael Franco
Freelancer Michael Franco writes about the serious and silly sides of science and technology for CNET and other pixel and paper pubs. He's kept his fingers on the keyboard while owning a B&B in Amish country, managing an eco-resort in the Caribbean, sweating in Singapore, and rehydrating (with beer, of course) in Prague. E-mail Michael.
Michael Franco
2 min read

While the newly discovered species of glass frog has a remarkable belly, it's the eyes that will remind you of a certain someone. Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center

Discovering new species in the wild is hard enough. Discovering new species in the wild that look like hugely popular pop culture figures is even harder. So one can only imagine the delight felt by Brian Kubicki when he came across a new species of glass frog in the jungles of Costa Rica that's pretty much a dead ringer for Kermit.

Kubicki is a researcher who created the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center (CRARC) in 2002, which he now runs with his wife, Aura. He reported his finding in the Journal Zootaxa (PDF).

It's pretty easy being green for this Kermit look-alike. Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center

In distinguishing the new frog species from other glass frogs, Kubicki and his colleagues point to differences in skin, call and yes -- those eyes that make it look most Kermit-like.

According to a description on the CRARC website, this is the first time a new glass frog species has been identified since 1973. The researchers collected six specimens at three different sites on Costa Rica's Caribbean slopes, roughly between a quarter and half a mile above sea level.

Like many glass frogs, the abdominal skin on this new species is transparent, allowing a clear view of its internal organs. "There is no satisfactory explanation for this transparency," according to Encyclopaedia Britannica, which also says that there are 120 species (now 121, we suppose) of glass frogs, growing on average to lengths of 0.8 to 1.2 inches (around 2-3cm). But there's really only one that looks like an international star of the stage and screen.

Although I think a fitting name for the little creature would have been Greenus Kermitus, Kubicki named the newly found frog Hyalinobatrachium dianae, after his mother, Janet Diane Kubicki. I think a certain pretty pig might have something to say about that, so watch your back Kubicki!

The new species already has its own Wikipedia page which acknowledges the similarity to Kermit. "Hyalinobatrachium dianae is a species of frog in the Centrolenidae family," it says. "It was discovered in 2015 by Dr. Brian Kubicki in Costa Rica. The frog is a lime-green colored amphibian with translucent skin on its underside and has a horizontally shaped pupil that makes it look like Kermit, the Muppet."

As to how he feels about his discovery being compared to a Muppet, Kubicki told CBS News: "I think it is great that this species is getting so much attention around the world. Hopefully this will help increase the awareness of the incredible amphibians found in Costa Rica and the need to continue studying them and conserve their vital habitats."