What Tadpoles are Forming a Wiggling Black Line Against the Water’s Edge and Why?

Late this winter when I walked along the road-like trail beside the Credit River at the Riverwood Conservancy in Mississauga I was blocked by where a stream had flooded across the path. By balancing rather precariously on some dead tree trunks I managed to ford the stream without turning back. Fast forward to mid-June. The same stream no longer crosses the path above ground but it does below foot level. It pools up into an interesting “pond” beside the path and continues as a stream. I was about to walk past it when a strange wavy black line along the pond edge caught my eye. So I stopped to investigate.

Photo of line of tadpoles on NaturalCrooksDotCom

The surface of the pond-like stream was covered in floating white cottonwood fluff with sticky red seed brackets adding to the mess. Beneath this, though, was a living mass of black bodies. Tadpoles! There must have been over a thousand of them along the 2 metre length of the edge of the water.

Photo of Tadpole Masses on NaturalCrooksDotCom

Were the Tadpoles Suffocating in the Stagnant Fluff-Covered Water?

My first thought was that the tadpoles might be in distress. They did, after all, look like they were trying to get out of the pond. And frankly the water looked awful.

Then I took an even closer look. There was quite deep water behind the long black line and in fact, they could swim quite easily upstream into clear, cool deep water. So lack of oxygen didn’t seem a likely problem.

Using a dead twig, I gently scooped some cottonwood fluff back for a better look at the tadpoles. (And a bit better photo.)

That’s when I noticed most of these tiny critters had legs.

Tiny Black Tadpoles are Turning Into Adult Amphibians

Photo of Tadpoles on NaturalCrooksDotCom

These tadpoles were transforming right before my eyes from swimming fish like creatures to 4-legged hopping air-breathing amphibians.

In fact, when I looked at my photos closely at home, I found I had taken a picture of one of the first Matured Tadpoles leaping out of the water. It still had a little stub of a tail but it had 4 well formed legs and obviously some lungs to breathe with.

Photo of Tadpoles Maturing on NaturalCrooksDotCom

This photo was taken a few days later. In Part 2, we’ll see how much they’ve grown.

Stay Tuned for Part 2 Of Tadpoles and Tiny Toadlets

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