What is a Tadpole?

Download PDF
Bookmark added to your notes.
View Notes

Tadpoles are that stage of the life cycle of a frog when they have hatched from eggs and also have gills as well as a tail. A frog is considered an amphibian, and according to biology, all amphibians on the planet lay eggs in water. The big clutch of eggs that have been laid by a frog is known as frogspawn. It floats and also feels like jelly. The egg that has been laid develops into a tadpole larva of a frog inside the food sac.


When a tadpole larva or the frog larva hatches from the egg, it uses its tail to swim in the water. On the underside, the tadpole has a mouth that is used to scrape tiny green plants called the algae from the surfaces of rocks and plants. At this very stage, it has gills that help in breathing water and is a vegetarian.

After a few weeks, it starts developing hind legs, and then after a few days later, it gets the front legs. Then the stage comes when the tail withers which changes to the gills. The tadpole animal now becomes a tiny frog which is now a meat-eater and will feed on insects and worms. A tadpole that has become a tiny frog is smaller even than your fingernail. It is hard to see in the grass by a pond, which clearly explains why we wonder where all the tadpoles go. 

Large numbers of eggs are laid because the frog does not protect its young. Therefore just by laying eggs in large numbers, and by there being swarms of tadpole animals are born. Out of thousands, just a very few among them will grow up to be breeding adults and the rest will be eaten as tadpoles are simply part of a food chain. 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

The Difference Between Frog and Toad?

We can discriminate between frog and tadpole based on the following points: 


If there was ever a tell-tale sign to find out which amphibian you are looking for then it is the texture of their skin. Toads look worthy and are covered in little lumps and bumps whereas the frogs are sleek and smooth. Toads always have dry skin, while the frogs look wet even when they are not in water.


An amphibian is seen making its way along a pavement or ambling through some grass, then it is a toad. Toads cope with dry conditions in a better manner than frogs because their skin is more waterproof. Frogs lose moisture easily and therefore are rarely seen too far away from water. This explains the fact that why the frogs always look moist.


Looking at the legs of an amphibian it can be easily identified either it is a frog or a toad. Frogs always have long legs, that are longer than their head as well as body, which helps them for hopping. On the other hand, all toads have shorter legs and they prefer to crawl around rather than hopping like a frog.


Looking at the shape of the amphibian it is easily recognizable as the amphibian you are looking at. Frogs are lithe and athletic-looking, while on the other hand toads look squat and dumpy. Their faces look very different too; frogs have a pointed nose and a toad has a much broader nose.


Spawn is another key indicator to recognize the species one is looking at. Frogspawn is laid in gooey clumps, and on the other hand, a toad’s spawn floats in stringy lengths.

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

Tadpoles: Summary

Like their adult counterparts, frog tadpoles are slimmer whereas toad tadpoles are chunky. Frog tadpoles are covered in gold flecks, whereas on the other hand, the toad tadpoles are plain black.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Write about the Birth of a Tadpole.

Ans: On a warm spring or early summer night, a female bullfrog lays about 20,000 eggs in different clutches with variant amounts of eggs in each. The tiny tadpoles start to take shape and hatch out in one to three weeks. The amount of time that is needed to emerge largely depends on the temperature it is getting. Warm temperature leads to the faster development of the tadpoles. 

Once the tadpoles hatch out, it is a growing time. Young tadpoles munch on dead vegetation and sometimes on other dead tadpoles. Tadpoles breathe using their gills that are present in the first stage. The gills are covered by a skin flap to protect this sensitive organ and it doesn't stick around forever. 

In four weeks, tadpoles start developing lungs but their gills do not disappear until they are almost ready to develop into an adult frog. They can breathe in two different ways.  Tadpoles get to “test drive” their lungs long before they start to depend on them. If it is seen tadpoles swimming to the surface and darting back down, then a tadpole is learning to breathe using its lungs.

2. Write about Bullfrogs.

Ans: Bullfrogs have a very unusually large range in development. They can spend even from one-two years as a tadpole. Whereas some of the local toads and local frogs can develop quickly in a couple of months. A bullfrog tadpole eats everything it can get its mouth around, up until the magic happens. 

At the initial stage, just a small nub will appear at the base of the body of a tadpole. As that nub grows slowly each day, there are small webbed feet that are attached to that pollywog. The tiny webbed feet that have grown as the first set will grow into long and powerful back legs, which help in hopping and swimming. As the back legs become fully grown, other changes also start to happen. The front legs start sprouting, the tail starts shortening. 

Also, the body of that tadpole no longer remains a rounded lump, it is rather elongated and now has structure. At this stage, it is neither a tadpole nor a frog; it's a froglet. Froglets have fully formed lungs and can be spotted hopping around the edges of the pond. It will not be long until the tail of the froglet is absorbed into its body and eventually becomes a frog.