Looking at translucent animals is totally fascinating and it is almost hard to believe that these animals exist. But they do, from the glass-winged butterfly’s with his see-through wings, to a little frog with a translucent belly. In most cases, the animals use this feature to camouflage themselves. These are the most common translucent animals we could find.
1. Glass-winged butterfly
Origin: Central America
Food: Lantana flower
Size: Wingspan between 5.6 and 6.1cm
The most part of this butterfly’s wings are transparent. If you stand close, the wings almost look like little mirrors as it reflects the light. But, don’t allow the beauty of this delicate-looking butterfly to fool you. Not only is he strong – he can pick up objects that are 40 times his own weight – he is also fast and can fly almost 13km/h for a short distance.
2. Golden tortoise beetle
Origin: North America
Food: Morning glory plant leaves
Only a small part of the golden tortoise beetle’s body is translucent, but what makes him even more special is that he can change colour depending on his mood and phase of his development. He even changes colour when touched by a human. These colours range from red-brown to gold.
3. Glass frog
Origin: Southern Mexico, Central and South America
Food: Soft insects and spiders
You can see through the belly of the glass frog, but the upper part of this little frog is a solid bright or olive green with spots. You can see this frog’s intestines and liver, and you can even see his heart beating. They live in rainforests and there are 60 different types of glass frogs.
4. Ghost shrimp
Origin: North America
Food: Any small piece of food including algae
Most part of the ghost shrimp’s body is translucent and you can even see the eggs in the mother, and the food in his intestines. He has 10 pairs of legs and they live for about one year in either fresh or brackish water.
5. Red-lined bubble snail
Origin: Indian Ocean, from Australia and New Zealand to Japan
The red-lined bubble snail has red-brown lines on his whitish shell and blue lines on his edges. He has two small black eyes on the top of his head and he can be found in the ocean, up to 45m deep.
6. Sea salp
Origin: Near Antarctica
Sea salp can be seen on the surface of the ocean, or in huge swarms in deep water. These are intriguing barrel-shaped creatures who move by pumping water through their translucent bodies. This action allows the salp to filter food from the water.
7. Sea moon jellyfish
Origin: Oceans around the world
Food: Plankton, shrimp, fish eggs
This translucent animal’s body consists of 95% water. This jellyfish prefers water that ranges between 9°C and 19°C, but can be found in temperatures as low as 6°C and as high as 31°C. They normally don’t live longer than six months in the wild and are preyed upon by sea birds, fish and turtles.
8. Sea walnut
Origin: East coast of North and South America
The sea walnut’s body is shaped like a walnut and he moves very slowly through the water. When the sea walnut is disturbed, the four rows of combs glow a green-blue colour against his translucent body. The sea walnut has become an invasive species in various parts of the world, including the Mediterranean basin.
9. Sea butterfly
Origin: Northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans
The sea butterfly most probably got his name from the way he ‘flies’ through the water. This animal is extremely small, but uses a mucous web of up to 5cm to entangle his food. He lives in the top 25cm of the ocean during night time, and then dive as deep as 100m under water during the day.
10. Translucent tunicate
Origin: All over the world
There are many varieties of tunicate in oceans all over the world, and they come in all shapes and sizes, with some of them being translucent. Some tunicates are solitary animals and others live in colonies on rocks, shells or even a ship’s hull.