Q:

Where do tadpoles come from?

A:

Quick Answer

Tadpoles come from newly hatched frog and toad eggs. New tadpoles have no arms or legs, and most cannot breathe atmospheric oxygen. They also have long tails. As they mature, the tadpoles develop extremities, lose their tails and those born unable to breathe air grow lungs and develop that ability.

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Full Answer

The process by which tadpoles become adult amphibians is called metamorphosis. It happens gradually and involves dramatic changes to every aspect of the developing frog or toad.

Metamorphosis lasts six to 12 weeks. It begins with the growth of long, powerful hind legs. The tadpoles soon develop arms and absorb their tails into their growing bodies. Those born without lungs develop them and lose their gills, rising to the surface of their watery home as they learn to breathe air. This is a crucial and stressful period during which many drown because they are not able to leave the water and have no natural instinct to do so.

Metamorphosis also involves gastrointestinal changes. Most tadpoles are herbivorous, although some species cannibalize other tadpoles when sufficient vegetation is unavailable. During metamorphosis, the digestive tract shortens and adapts to the carnivorous diet of adult frogs and toads.The tadpole's narrow mouth also expands until it's as wide as its head.

In the period immediately following metamorphosis, young frogs and toads learn adult survival skills. Captive frogs released later in life find it difficult or impossible to adapt to the wild, and many of them die.

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Related Questions

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    Does a frog have a backbone?

    A:

    Yes, frogs are vertebrates and have a spine, or backbone. The skeleton of a frog is very similar to other vertebrates, such as humans, although some parts have changed to better fit the frog's lifestyle.

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    How does a frog breathe?

    A:

    A frog breathes through its skin, the inner surface of its mouth and its lungs, depending on its circumstances. When their skin is moist, and particularly when they are in water where it is their only form of gas exchange, they breathe through their skin. When it is necessary, such as on land, they take air into their lungs by pushing it from their mouths with their nostrils closed.

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    Is a frog a carnivore?

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    Frogs are carnivores that eat live prey and do not feed on plants or carrion. However, frogs can't chew their food and must swallow it whole.

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    What is a baby frog called?

    A:

    After hatching from its egg, a frog emerges as a tadpole. Like other amphibians, a frog undergoes dramatic changes throughout its life cycle in a process known as metamorphosis.

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