Late tadpoles

Metamorphosing tadpole from the Old Pond today: its getting on for a month later than 'normal'

We naturally assume that Common Frog tadpoles have mostly emerged by this time of the year.

And my standard froggy reference book – Trevor Beebee and Richard Griffiths’ New Naturalist ‘Amphibians and Reptiles‘ – does indeed describe metamorphosis from tadpole to young frog as occurring any time from May to September.

So the tadpoles in my pond today, even with well developed hind legs, are beginning to push the metamorphosis envelope a bit.

My guess (frog experts may care to comment) is that if they’ve got legs now they’ll soon be leaving the pond. If they haven’t they could be heading for overwintering as tadpoles.


5 Responses to “Late tadpoles”

  1. Barbara Johnson Says:

    I was clearing dense duckweed from my pond and came across a small tadpole, the strange thing was that it was a mixture of yellow and red in colour. I thought they were all black and I wasn’t aware that I’d had any frogspawn at all this year!

  2. Jeremy Biggs Says:

    Ah-ha! I wonder how many other people have tadpoles lurking unseen?

    Have you got a picture of the animal?


  3. jonspond Says:

    It is possible that the legged tadpoles would emerge soon as froglets but they may also overwinter in the pond and manage to complete their life cycle the next year or may perish in the pond.

  4. George Hughes Says:

    We still have quite a few Tadpoles in my local pond (Firestone Copse on The Isle of Wight). Are they likely to survive the winter? I have never seen them this late before.

    • Jeremy Biggs Says:

      Hi George

      Re the late tadpoles, I think there’s a chance they will survive.

      My suspicion is that there may be more of these late tapoles than meets the eye (because it’s not a time of year when people are looking), and perhaps there are simply more with the way the weather is changing.

      Any thoughts on this gratefully received.


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