6 See Through Animals

Table of Contents

Have you ever tried to walk in through a door, only to be greeted by a bang, since you couldn’t figure out the presence of a glass door? This might seem quite a trouble for you, but there are see-through animals that use transparency as a tool to survive. Listed below are six such transparent animals, that would surely give you a tough time with spotting!

1. Glass Frogs

Glass frogs are found in rainforests and rivers of Ecuador. They have pale green skin which is almost transparent. One can see all its vital organs. In a recent discovery, glass frogs were seen storing their blood cells in the liver to become even more transparent. This helps them to hide from predators. Their ability to pool blood in one place without clotting can fuel medical research into ways to prevent blood from clotting. Sadly, these frogs with their cool blending abilities are endangered, as they fall prey to human activities.



Glass Frog
Glass frogs store blood cells in their liver to become even more transparent. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Geoff Gallice

2. Sea Angels

The cold waters of the Arctic Ocean are home to the second entry. Sea angels are mollusks, which means that they fall into the same category as snails and octopuses. They are transparent as if they were apparitions. Sea angels flutter in water with wing-like organs that are translucent. Their diet involves preying on a related species, known as sea butterflies. Sea angels are named for their beautiful wings. However, they also have protrusions on their heads that appear like horns.



Sea Angels
Transparent sea angels have ‘wings’ with which they flutter in ocean. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Raphael Gori

3. Barton Springs Salamander

In Texas, one can find a very special species of salamander found nowhere else in the world. One can find them hiding in gravel and rocks, from a depth of a few inches to almost 15 inches. These reddish-brown salamanders with mottled backs, called Barton Springs Salamanders after their home, are see-through. Their eggs and the contents of their meals are visible through the skin. These salamanders rely on the fresh waters of Barton Springs, which puts them among other endangered species. They feed on small aquatic invertebrates called amphipods and brine shrimp.

These salamanders are transparent and are only found in Barton Springs, Texas. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Ryan Hagerty

4. Glasswing Butterfly

The wings of butterflies have abundant color; some have wings that resemble eyes, some shimmer with blue and green, and the list of patterns goes on forever. Glasswing butterflies do not have such colors. Their wings are transparent, and only an opaque outline of brown allows us to notice one. They can blend into the background even when they are in flight, and they migrate over long distances. These butterflies gather in large groups for mating, in an event called a lek. Don’t let their ‘glassy’ name fool you; they can carry loads that are forty times their weight.



Glasswing Butterfly
Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Scott Wylie

5. Crocodile Icefish

At first glance, these fish look akin to dinosaurs. They live in the Antarctic Ocean and have transparent blood. They are the only known vertebrates without hemoglobin. Hemoglobin makes blood red in color and carries oxygen. How do these fish survive without this red pigment? These fish have quite a few adaptations. They have larger hearts, gills, and blood vessels relative to other fish, to move higher volumes of blood. More blood allows higher absorption of oxygen. Antarctic water is cold, and so contains more oxygen than warm water, which the fish can use for survival. They can lower their body temperature to survive in the cold ocean.

Crocodile Icefish
The crocodile icefish is the only vertebrate without hemoglobin. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Uwe kils

6. Jellyfish

Jellyfish are the most popular entry in this list. Although not all jellyfish are transparent, some are. Swimmers often encounter jellyfish in the ocean, and might not see one coming. Jellyfish possess deadly stingers for self-defense, and some can kill a human in no time if left untreated. They have cells called cnidoblasts on their tentacles, which are stinging cells. These cells have a structure inside them called a nematocyst, which is the actual organ that stings. Jellyfish are a quite ancient and beautiful group of animals.

Jellyfish are a common threat to swimmers who swim in the open sea. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Jean Gervasi


  • Anubhav Ghosh
    : Author
    I am pursuing my bachelor's in microbiology from Scottish Church College, Kolkata and the lab at my college is as close as my home is to me. My interest lies in molecular biology and cell signalling, and I want to be a professor when I grow up. I believe that what we see around has a fantastic science story in it. In my free time, I love to watch soccer. Writing for Smore Science gives me the chance to explore my take on explaining the science around me in ways that everyone can grasp.

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