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Tadpole Maturation

5-22-19 green heron and tadpole _U1A1148The eggs of Wood Frogs, the earliest species of frog to breed in the Northeast, are just hatching and tiny Wood Frog tadpoles can be found swimming about at this time of year. This Green Heron is devouring a tadpole, but it is anything but tiny – certainly not a Wood Frog tadpole. How can this be?

The answer is that the tadpole that the Green Heron caught did not hatch this spring – it hatched last summer. Unlike Wood Frogs and Spring Peepers that mature in roughly two months, Green Frogs and American Bullfrogs can take two or even three years to metamorphose into adult frogs. By their second summer they are of substantial size. The Green Heron has caught a Green Frog or Bullfrog tadpole that has overwintered and would probably have matured this summer.

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6 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    “would probably have matured” being the key words. Yummy meal for the Green Heron 😋 Croaked before a chance to croak.

    May 22, 2019 at 8:22 am

  2. Clara Mulligan

    And we have oh so many! Naughty heron. Don’t come to Linwood! C.

    On Wednesday, May 22, 2019, Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “The eggs of Wood Frogs, the earliest species of frog > to breed in the Northeast, are just hatching and tiny Wood Frog tadpoles > can be found swimming about at this time of year. This Green Heron is > devouring a tadpole, but it is anything but tiny – certain” >

    May 22, 2019 at 2:35 pm

  3. Bill On The Hill

    Fantastic capture Mary! With all the kayaking I’ve done, I am yet to encounter a green heron. This one is astoundingly beautiful, plus you caught it with a morsel!
    Very well done…
    Bill :~)

    May 22, 2019 at 3:27 pm

  4. Char Delabar

    Thank you, Mary for sharing wonders of nature. Char

    >

    May 22, 2019 at 4:32 pm

  5. Tamson

    I’ve been stalking my own green frog tadpoles in the pond in the woods behind my house. One of the best things my mom ever encouraged me to do many, many years ago was to go capture some tadpoles at a local pond. I caught five, and then walked half a mile back and forth to the pond daily with a bucket to get fresh water to change in their bowl. Of the five, the cat ate one, one was a casualty of the one day my mom changed the water for me (it went down the drain, she wasn’t allowed to help any more after that), two turned into tiny froglets and were released, and the last was still growing when we went on a family vacation and was also released. I think I was nine that summer, and I was fascinated being able to watch the whole process. And when that last one just kept growing, I went to the library to find out why. I probably bored the heck out of my friends that summer with all the frog information I learned.

    May 24, 2019 at 9:46 am

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