June 24, 2024

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Scientists find secret to how glass frogs turn transparent

A frog that transforms into a mostly transparent state when dozing could hold the key to understanding human blood coagulation.

The glass frog has long been known to science, but it was unclear how it managed to become transparent.

Now, studies have found that it can pool blood within the body without suffering the consequences of clotting.

The glass frog, which is roughly the size of a marshmallow, lives in the tropics and spends its days sleeping on vibrant green leaves.

The creature makes itself 61% transparent to blend in with the leaf and avoid being noticed by predators.

Insights from Duke University in the US by Mr. Delia and Carlos Taboada have now revealed how the glass frogs carry out this uncommon task.

The scientists determined the animals’ opacity by shining various light wavelengths through them while they were awake and asleep. They learned that the animals pool blood into their livers.

“The majority of the red blood cells are somehow stored in the liver, where they are thereafter excreted into the blood plasma.” “They continue to circulate plasma but manage to do so without producing a sizable clot,” explains Mr. Delia.

Up to 89% of the animal’s blood cells congregate, nearly tripling the size of the liver and making the frog translucent.

Red blood cells are released back into circulation, and the liver contracts at night when the animal wants to become active again to hunt or find a mate.

According to Mr. Taboada, the frog may still coagulate blood when necessary, such as after getting hurt. The creature’s “superpower,” according to him, is its capacity to selectively pool and clot blood, which may lead to new insights into the process of blood clotting in general.

Blood clotting, which can be fatal in most animals and cause heart attacks in people, occurs when blood pools together. The researchers emphasise that it may take years before this knowledge is applied in a real-world setting for human medicine.