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Tadpoles and using them to understand brains

Frog Facts

Facts about tadpoles, frogs, newts and amphibians!

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What are tadpoles?

Wood-Frog-hatchling-NatureNorth2f

Wood Frog

Frogs, toads, newts and salamanders are Amphibians. They all spend part of their life on land but go back to water in ponds, lakes and rivers to lay eggs. The eggs hatch into tadpoles. Young tadpoles are rather like baby fish. They swim by using their tails and use gills to get oxygen from the water. They often feed on plants. The photos of Canadian Wood Frog tadpoles  are by NatureNorth.com

When tadpoles get bigger, they develop lungs to breath air, grow legs and  start to eat other small animals.Wood-frog-tadpole-legsf

After a few weeks  the tail gradually shrinks and they hop out of the water as tiny froglets. Most adult amphibians, like frogs, eat insects.Wood-Frog-frogletf

Click to see more about the life cycle

What are Amphibians?

There are three types of amphibians:

Anura: 6,642 species of frogs and toads without tails. Many have a tongue they can shoot out to catch insects.

Caudata: 684 species of newts and salamanders with a long tail. This is a Smooth Newt Triturus vulgaris (Photo by Magnus Maske)Smooth_Newt_credit_Magnus Maskef

Gymnophiona:  205 species of worm-like caecilians, without any legs and living underground mainly in South East Asia (Photo of Dermophis mexicanus by Franco Andreone).Caecilian-Dermophis_mexicanusf

Find out more about UK amphibians here.

The frog as an example

There are huge numbers of different kinds of frogs found all over the world and you can find pictures at AmphibiaWeb   They are divided into families with Latin names. One widespread group of frogs has the Latin family name Rana. This is still the word for frog in Spanish and Italian. Here are some examples of this family of frogs from different countries. The tadpoles and life-cycle of all of them is very similar.

The Common Frog in Europe has the family name Rana and its specific name is temporaria (photo by ©Dave Mangham, www.wildlifephotos.org.uk)Rana-temporaria-Manghamf

The Wood Frog in Canada is adapted to survive the very low temperatures in winter. Its Latin name is Rana sylvatica (photo by  James H. Harding).Rana-sylvatica-hardingjATmsu-edu
The American Bullfrog is bigger and its name is Rana catesbiana (photo by  John White).Rana-catesbiana-John-Whitef