Real-Life Kermit Frog Found in Costa Rica

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KermitKermit the Frog may claim that it is not easy being a green Muppet, but it turns out the fictional amphibian has relatives living the good life in the tropical rain forests of Central America. Along Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, the scientists have found a new species of frog that looks a lot like a real-life version of Kermit the Frog, star of stage, screen and Muppet Show television fame.

A new species of glass frog discovered in the Central American country bears a remarkable resemblance to the famous puppet. They both are a similar shade of very bright green and have big white protuberant eyes with horizontally shaped pupils. While the real frog species does closely resemble Kermit (or actually, for Muppet aficionados, he really looks like his nephew Robin, based on his small size), the recent discovery is the glass frog’s first time in the spotlight.

Discovering new species in the rainforest area is not that unusual, where many animals have a sheltered existence. But, it is unusual for a real-life find to have the looks and coloring previously believed to be highly fictional.

Minnesota scientist Brian Kubicki came across the newly discovered in the jungles of the Costa Rican rain forest. Kubicki and his wife, Aura, run the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center or CRARC. According to the CRARC Web site, this is the first new glass frog type identified since 1973. CRARC reports that Kubicki and his team collected six of the frog specimens at three different sites that were approximately 400 to 900 meters (about a quarter to half mile) above sea level on the Caribbean slopes.

There are 14 types of glass frogs in the Costa Rica area. But, this new species was easily distinguishable by its ping-pong ball shaped eyes, coloring, call and skin. Glass frogs clearly got their common name because the abdominal skin on many types is very translucent. The new frog type, for example, has such transparent abdominal skin there is a clear view of its internal organs, including its heart, liver and other parts.

Overall, there are more than 100 varieties of glass frogs, or subfamily centrolenidae, out there. They are small amphibians, with sizes ranging from 1 to 3 inches in length. They can be found from Southern Mexico through watery areas of Central America down to parts of Brazil and Argentina.

The public is bound to refer to the new species by its Muppet name. However, Kubicki gave the newly found amphibian the Latin name Hyalinobatrachium dianae, after his mother, Janet Diane Kubicki.

The real-life glass frog’s resemblance to his beloved fictional, fuzzy cousins, Kermit and Robin, was not noted on the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center Web site, when announcing what they found. However, Kupicki has told the press that he thinks the resemblance to Kermit is great because it is getting the new species so much attention worldwide. “Hopefully this will help increase the awareness of the incredible amphibians found in Costa Rica,” the scientist said, “and the need to continue studying them and conserve their vital habitats.”

By Dyanne Weiss

Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center
Sydney Morning Herald
NBC News
ABC News