14 April 2010

jelly babies?

There has been a lot going on since this muppet faced mother dropped her goodies in the middle pond in mid-March.  The grand total of three clumps of spawn laid this year were not fished out to decorate classroom jam jars so I am relieved, they do not do well in jam jars, and with the frog population being so low every bit of egg filled jelly counts.  The two fat goldfish living in this pond have greedy eyes that seemed to be watching for an early spring snack of tadpoles, instead they were wide open and alert to predators and they led me on a merry, curse-filled dance before I could manage to net them out.  They will spend the summer with company in the office pond.

I never get bored of watching the textbook-drawing-come-to-life transformation of spawn to tadpoles and I am always amazed at its speed.

The round full-stop centers soon begin to distort as the eggs develop.  
Within days they have turned into recognisable embryos with head, tail and yolk-filled bellies.

A few days on and the gills can be seen, looking like frilly ears.
Almost ready to hatch the tadpoles get increasingly wiggly and the protective jelly finally collapses.
The external gills disappear under a layer of skin, the tail strengthens and all of a sudden the pond is full of tadpoles swimming and feeding.

Watch them go!

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