|“Whose been eating my tadpoles?”|
|Written by Pond Conservation|
|Thursday, 04 August 2011 09:58|
One question that lots of people ask is - where have my tadpoles gone?
Of course, the reason that frogs lay so many eggs is that very few survive into adulthood, usually only a handful from each original clump. Both spawn and
Environmental factors and disease
Not all spawn will develop into tadpoles, because some will be unfertilised, and some may be killed by late frost. There is also evidence that environmentally stressed spawn may be more susceptible to disease.
Changes in tadpole behaviourPeople often call us because their tadpoles are not moving when they first emerge, and they worry that they have died. In fact, this is entirely normal and within a few days they will wriggle off into the
submerged aquatic vegetation where they will graze on algae.
Once tadpoles have moved away from their spawn and become ‘free-swimming’, they often spend a good deal of time hidden away in vegetation etc. In
Fish: Fish are one of the top predators in your pond. Not only do they eat invertebrate animals, many also eat frog and newt tadpoles. For garden owners who want fish we recommend two ponds: a fish pond
(which will also contain wildlife) and a wildlife pond, so that the creatures that are most susceptible to fish predation have somewhere to survive. It is also possible to create refuges in your fish pond, by making densely vegetated shallow areas that the fish can't get to so easily. Your tadpoles, and many of your invertebrates, will be able to shelter there.
Invertebrates: A number of invertebrate adults and their larvae also see tadpoles as a source of protein. This again is entirely natural, and is part of the complex food web that exists within any pond. Large
What can we do?
Pond ecosystems are extremely complex so trying to manage them in favour of a single species can be difficult and may have
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Dr John Baker for his advice with this article.
adapted/revised article from