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A minner for dinner

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Unread 05-08-2008, 05:59 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: N. Central Indiana
Posts: 608
Pardon for hijacking the thread (for a short bit). Speaking about tadpoles.........

In my pond there are 10's of thousands of black tadpoles that are lining the shore. They are at the most 3/8" long. They are in water no deeper than 2", maybe to escape the fish?

The North side of the pond is approx. 280' long, and Tuesday they blanketed the shore for about 6" out into the water. Literally, there was a black stripe on the whole North side of the pond.

Any ideas on species? The pond is at the edge of a "wooded wetland" that dries up between early and late June. 30 miles S/SW of South Bend, Indiana. There is a good 10" - 16" of water standing in the woods now - maybe 5 acres are covered.

If you need more information, ask away!
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Unread 05-08-2008, 06:49 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Potomac River
Posts: 5,088
Most likely they are in the shallow water to eat algae that grows there. Depending on many things, algae will grow better where there is plenty, but not too much sunlight in the water. Algae will grow on the dead leaves and the tadpoles will graze them off. Some tadpoles eat other things. The big bullfrog tadpoles will eat each other.

I would suspect that they will be toads but it is hard to tell. Asking two engineers a biology question is asking for a bad answer.

Here is an Identification chart that I checked to be sure I at least had a few functioning brain cells left. Black ones are toads.

Tadpole Identification Table

I grew up catching and playing with toads and frogs and have a fondness for them (also crawfish and salamanders and ring necked snakes). When you grow up poor on a farm you don't have so many toys and the small creatures are your entertainment. Frogs and toads have been having a hard time the last decade of so probably because of acid rain and pH changes but the last I knew it was still an unsolved mystery.

You should be happy to have so many as they will eat lots and lots of bugs. The little ones will be a major food source for a lot of birds and shrews etc.

If you have children of an age to need a science fair project for next year there are some great ones, such as what percentage get rear legs on the same day, and front legs and leave the pond etc. Also is the question of how many are deformed and what kind of deformity- this should win if done well and advance your child to the regionals. Make sure to check the rules as working with live animals requires prior approval and not every school will allow project work done before the project is registered.
The Smokin Fur Rifle Club
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Unread 05-09-2008, 05:44 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: N. Central Indiana
Posts: 608

Thanks! No kids, but my niece might be interested. That's a great idea!

I put 50 bullfrog tadpoles in the pond a few years ago and last year there were only a few adults left. I'll re-stock them again after I'm done digging it deeper and re-contouring the banks. The previous owner thought it best to have a 1:1 or at best a 1:3 slope............. I figure that I'll need to move around 16K cu. yd. to get it the way I want it.

The tadpoles seem to be shrinking in number, but after looking at some of the puddles that are in the woods, there is still a significant number around!
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