Karen McClure, a biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, explains the frog life cycle. "Those are eggs, too, and that tiny black tadpole hatched out of those eggs, they are wood frog eggs. They were all laid within a couple of days of each other. I was coming up here every day and watching, it has to do with light, sediment that washed over them, and if they've hatched or not, some have already hatched."
That's the thing about frogs...they're pretty reclusive, and some only come down to the water when it's time to lay their eggs, then it's back to the woods. For them....there's no romance, but nature triggers various switches telling them it's time to start raising their families.
"In WV, we basically have 2 things going on with frogs, aquatic frogs, bullfrogs, that people are familiar with. They pretty much spend their whole life in the water, egg, tadpole and adult, and we have terrestrial frogs which most people don't see unless the come out of the water in the breeding season." says McClure.
Frogs aren't real fond of cold weather, so they find a nice place to hole up and spend the winter. They have their own internal anti-freeze which keeps them from freezing to death, and when the light, temperature and humidity are just right, they wake up and start another year. And just like humans, some sleep longer than others.
"Some frogs haven't come out of the woods yet, other frogs, the tadpoles are a year old, they're still in the water eating and growing and will transform in late summer or maybe another whole year. Other frogs, the egg stage in the water or in the tadpole stage."
Here's something else interesting about frogs...they have a recognizable kinship which means they can recognize their own tadpoles and won't eat them...pretty cool, huh?
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