Wet specimens 2

Rana pipiens. BCFS-32. My gaze snaps away from the floor and wanders to a shelf of amphibians, to another dust-covered lid on a jar in the corner. The body of the northern leopard frog is upside-down, its hind legs and pseudo-webbed toes curled, twisted and arched in opposite directions. Unlike its vibrant green pigmentation in life, the frog’s skin is now an almost translucent white, a byproduct of the preservative alcohol. What remains of its lived color are the brown spots that pattern the creature’s back and legs. But this skin seems delicate, like thin paper, like gift-wrap. It is transparent enough to show the outlines of ribs and the blue tinge of organs—the lungs, the heart, the gut. The inner workings of the frog’s head are nearly visible too, exhibiting the full form of two gelatinous black eyes, the iris no longer its characteristic golden hue. From within its open mouth, I see more blue.

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