When I am not getting stuck in mud, slipping and falling on rocks (I think both of these activities constitute the majority of my time), climbing over or under tree falls, or dropping important things in the water (bye-bye favorite flashlight), stream transects are quite enjoyable!!! Streams have fairly unique assemblages of herpetofauna compared to upland sites and can sometimes feel like a whole different world compared to walking through the forest a mere 10 meters away from a stream (however, I think it is important to mention that there is overlap between forest and riparian assemblages and the connection between riparian and upland habitat can be very important for both the life cycle of species and ecosystem function). One of the perks of stream transects is getting to see glass frogs (family: Centrolenidae). These critters get their common name from their transparent appearance –for example, check out the eggs on that female below!An interesting characteristic of glass frogs is that some species guard their egg clutches (against predation, parasitism, dehydration). The reticulated glass frog, Hyalinobatrachium valerioi, is particularly noteworthy because of the similarity in appearance of the frog to the egg clutch and because the males egg guard not just during the night but also during the day. Up close, the coloration of this frog is mesmerizing, with a pattern of light yellow spots on a lime green background adorned with darker punctuations.
As a consequence of the egg-guarding behavior exhibited by H. valerioi, this nocturnal species can also be spotted during the day. However, they are pretty hard to detect and equally as hard for your camera to focus on! Their coloration and transparency really make it difficult to discern between leaf, spot on leaf, growth on leaf, or frog. Recently, I happened across this pair (below) in the middle of the afternoon, which was a unique find for me. I have seen the male guarding eggs during the day but never a pair. It will be interesting to see what happens when I return to this spot – I expect an egg clutch!