Can you see them?

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 commom 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

Size: 5-7mm

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

Size: 3-7.5cm

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

Size: 1.5-3.8cm

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

Food: Worms

Size: 0.7-2cm

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

Food: Phytoplankton

Size: 1-10cm

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

Size: 25-40cm

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

Food: Zooplankton

Size:  7-12cm

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

Food: Plankton

Size: 1-4mm

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

Food: Plankton

Size: >1m

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.


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