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The Life Cycle of a Frog


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Life Cycle Stage 2: Tadpole (Larva)
The Life Cycle of a Frog
Photo © Tommounsey / iStockphoto.

A frog's larva is also called a tadpole. Tadpoles have rudimentary gills, a mouth, and a long tail. For the first week or two after the tadpole hatches, it moves very little. During this time, the tadpole absorbs the remaining yolk left over from the egg, which provides much needed nourishment. At this stage, tadpoles have rudimentary gills, a mouth and a tail. After absorbing the remaining yolk, the tadpole is strong enough to swim on its own.

Most tadpoles are feed on algae and other vegetation so they are considered herbivores. They filter material from the water as they swim or tear away bits of plant material. As the tadpole continues to grow, it begins to develop hindlimbs. Its body elongates and its diet grows more robust, shifting to larger plant matter and even insects. Later in their development, front limbs grow and their tail shrinks. Skin forms over the gills.

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