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Minnesota native discovers new frog in Costa Rica, but it looks familiar


It's not easy being a self-trained amphibian researcher who moved from Minnesota to the Costa Rican rain forest.

But discovering a new species of frog there might make your peers green with envy.

Brian Kubicki used a scholarly article and Facebook to introduce the world to the new type of glass frog he identified.

But while Kubicki named it Diane's Bare-hearted Glassfrog in honor of his mother, much of the world is calling it by another name.

To be fair, some news outlets – particularly those outside the U.S. – focused on the biological breakthrough of identifying a new glass frog, which is so named because its translucent skin is so clear that its body organs are visible through its underside (right).

Here in the States, though, the emphasis quickly turned to the new amphibian's resemblance to that beloved Muppet, Kermit the Frog.

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"The rainforest is my university"

In a profile in National Wildlife, Brian Kubicki said it was love at first sight when he traveled from Minnesota to Costa Rica in 1997 and spotted his first glass frog.

A year later, Kubicki (left), a self-taught naturalist, was back in Costa Rica to stay. He purchased a 90-acre swath of land, National Wildlife says, and wandered through it, following the noises he heard to learn who in the animal kingdom was making them.

In 2002 Kubicki and his wife started the Costa Rican Amphibian Research Center, which he describes as a small family-owned biological research center.

Kubicki says the discovery of another type of glass frog is an indicator of a healthy ecosystem in the forests of Costa Rica's Talamanca Mountains.

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