A Tadpole’s Life Cycle into a Frog
Like other creatures of the planet, frogs also reach maturity after going through different stages in their life. The ‘tadpole’ stage is one of them. Let’s briefly look at the stages of a tadpole’s life cycle. After finishing this short introduction to a tadpole’s life, you will be able to easily identify how a tadpole turns into a frog.
When frogs are in the larva stage, that is the first stage, they are called a Tadpole. In a tadpole’s life cycle, they generally live in water, but there are some terrestrial tadpoles (living on the land as opposed to the water) too. These baby frogs look different from mature frogs. They don’t have arms and legs in this phase of their lives. Instead, a Tadpole has fin-like appendages, or a dorsal fin and a small tail. This tail helps them to swim in water. The respiration system runs by internal or external gills that are autonomous.
During the primary days of life, Tadpoles will attach themselves to weeds in the water and feed on the remaining yolk from their eggs. At this stage of the Tadpole cycle they remain very vulnerable. They could be eaten by other aquatic creatures or the source of water could dry up. In order to protect themselves from external attack, Tadpoles hide through the use of camouflage by blending into their surroundings.
After 7 to 10 days (in some species, it takes more than two weeks) of the Tadpole cycle, they begin to swim around in the pond. They become social creatures, and in some cases go through schooling periods just like fish and they start to eat small water plants, such as algae. They pass a few weeks through this stage. Then, their gills begin to disappear gradually. Tiny teeth grow in their mouth, and they become capable of eating harder foods. Their internal organs become longer, which helps them to digest more nutrients. These nutrients are necessary for their growth during the Tadpole cycle.
After passing from 5 to 9 weeks, the next stage of Tadpole’s life cycle is when they develop tiny legs. Also, their heads and abdomen grows proportionately. Their diet consists of new food items such as insects and small plants. When the 9th week is finished, Tadpoles get the look of a tiny frog with a long tail. It is now getting closer to reaching maturity.
By the end of the 12th week, the Tadpoles have become bigger. Just a tiny tail makes it different from a small frog. During this time of Tadpole’s life cycle, it leaves the water and begins to run around on the dry land. It only comes back to the water for laying eggs. Their lungs start to function completely, tails vanish, mouth widens and skin and other parts of the body develop completely.
Thus, within 13 to 16 weeks, a frog completes the entire Tadpole cycle. During a Tadpole’s life cycle, the environment of the water, the quantity of food and nutrition will impact the actual duration from Tadpole to maturity. Though most Tadpoles do complete their development in their first year, you may see them in the water later in the year, this is called overwintering.