Tadpoles and shallow water

My tadpoles are beginning to show their love of (very) shallow water.

Here they are in the New Pond congregating over gravel in water that is 1 inch deep.

And in a similar depth of water at the grassy edge of the Old Pond where there is currently a wriggling mass of the week old hatchlings.


4 Responses to “Tadpoles and shallow water”

  1. Ste74 Says:

    Hi, I’m about to start making my new pond and I am wondering what the best plants are to put in.

    The pond will only be a small size, about 2.5m x 1.5m, so I’m not going to have much room for many.

    Thanks. Ste.

  2. Jeremy Biggs Says:

    Hi Ste – You need to have underwater plants, some good edge plants (grasses are best if wildlife is your main aim) and a few emergents. Mosses are good under the water if you can get them to grow (they colonised my old pond naturally).

    The best things to do is to collect some plants from local streams, ditches or ponds but make sure you don’t collect on nature reserves or anywhere specially protected for wildlife so you don’t risk pulling up protected species. Remember you also need to ask for landowner permission.

    There’s more advice in the Pond Conservation leaflet ‘Planting-up ponds’. You can download it here: http://www.pondconservation.org.uk:81/Resources/Pond%20Conservation/Documents/PDF/Planting%20Up%20Ponds%20FEB10_2.pdf

    One thing to add – this leaflet is written mainly with ponds in the countryside in mind where natural colonisation is quite quick. Natural colonisation is slower in gardens so you’re more likely to want to add some plants.


  3. jonspond Says:

    Now shoaling in shallow water – is that a defensive technique against predators?

    Its goes to show how well adapted common frogs are to shallow temporary ponds – just like the ones which have largely disappeared from the wider countryside – thus we do not know how well this species is doing in the countryside as people do not bother recording frogs, spawn or tadpoles as they are too busy looking for newts (in the professional field at least).

    However even when volunteers go out looking at ponds for amphibians they are often following the breeding season for newts which is much later than the frog season.

    Do garden ponds really compensate for the loss of these semi natural ponds? – its a life line for sure but would there be more frogs?

  4. Clive Fox Says:

    I have also noticed large aggregations of tadpoles in the very shallow areas of my pond. In particular they seem to aggregate in the most sunlit corner and I am wondering if the water is slightly warmer here which would favour higher activity levels and possibly growth rates. If there are other aquatic predators in the pond shoaling in shallows might be a protective mechanism but I would have thought it would also expose them to other predators such as birds. A quick search on the scientific literature shows quite a few studies on size sorting in shoals and other issues but I can’t find any studies on water depth choice.

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