Saturday, April 28, 2012


Tadpoles distorted by curved glass.  This is a vision right out of my pre-school days.  I believed that a jar was wasted if it didn’t contain water and some type of aquatic creature.  Tadpoles were always one of my favorites.

A storm dropped nearly two inches of rain and brought the pond back to life.  In just a few hours the pond went from a shallow puddle to this healthy pool. 

Tadpoles that had been crowded together in the last bit of water were suddenly released to travel the open water.  Algae in the puddle made it impossible to estimate the number of tadpoles present, but judging by the masses of tadpoles in the open water, they must have been very tightly packed into the last remnants of the pond water.

These are Wood Frog tadpoles.  They’ve had their problems this season, but it now looks as though they’ll make it to metamorphosis.  First the eggs were almost left hanging in the dogwood branches because of high flood water followed by rapidly falling water levels and now they just came within days of having their water disappear completely.

Wood Frogs breed within a short time span, so the entire population of tadpoles grows together with little variation in size of developmental stage.

Rows of rasping teeth around the mouth are used to scrape algae and other material from submerged surfaces. 

An iridescent membrane hides the tadpole’s internal organs, but the spiral of intestines is still clearly visible.  As a child, my favorites were species that had a transparent abdomen that allowed clear observation of the working intestines. 

A tadpole’s function is to eat.  Material is constantly moving through the intestines and out.  These tadpoles were confined for less than two minutes, but they were filling the water with poop.  Their nutrient rich droppings sustain new populations of bacteria and algae which the tadpoles then consume.  It’s a cycle that helps maintain a diverse population of species in the temporary water body.  I’m now looking forward to watching the little froglets leave the water.
A Camera Critters submission.

Camera Critters


  1. No kidding, what a transformation from before. I'm curious was the strom an electrical storm or just plain rainstorm ? Although I realize this time of year violent storms are becoming the norm for you folks over there. When I get time, I'm writing about the energetic effects of lightning storm water's chemical and molecular structural signature and it's effects on plant growth and animal world. Too lengthy to explain here, but I would love you to document your own observations through photographs the immediate response of plant growth after an electrical storm.

    I'll further explain this in a future post and alert you to it and see if we can come up with some more interesting observations you might have never considered before photographinh. It's really quite kool.

    Thanks agin for the pics with text - Kevin

  2. I had the same thought before reading what you wrote under the first image. I remember collecting these in jars, too! And, I had two older brothers who were even better at it.

  3. This is such an interesting submission. I was always fascinated by tadpoles but never really loved frogs. I wanted to meet a handsome prince but was never brave enough to kiss one of the critters.

    My Camera Critter is at:

    Hope you are having a great weekend.

  4. Reminds me of my childhood days in the rice field.

    My Critter please come and see when you have time. Have a safe and happy weekend!

  5. Hi Kevin. This was just rain. I didn't notice any lightning at all.

    Hi Lois. I had a feeling you used to do stuff like this.

    Hi Carmen. It doesn't seem fair that the prince was in the form of a frog, but the princess was usually just asleep.

    Hi chubskulit. Cute bunnies. That's a good use for those dandelions.

  6. What an interesting post! Thanks for sharing.
    Wow, that will be a frog-concert :-)