Sometimes I read Lucky Magazine. OK, I often read Lucky Magazine. Their first bit of editorial is the “What I Want Now” page. Well that’s pretty much how I feel about my biology this spring. I want tadpoles, and I want them now! We have visited lots of ponds lately, but none of them were teaming with tadpoles. When I told Ryder about my preoccupation with these wriggly little gill breathers he kept an eye out for me. Turns out the drainage ditch on Fremont Avenue is the place to be if you are in stage 2 or 3 of the frog life cycle! Beard devotes a page of his book to entertaining his reader with a 7 month record of what his pet frog ate (and eventually died from eating). So I don’t feel bad indulging in this tadpole obsession. Obsessions are good, that is what drives us to learn and look more closely right?
I can’t tell you why I had to find gobs of tadpoles, but I think it has something to do with Seth’s age. I have early child hood memories of gazing in wonder at oodles of tadpoles swarming near the banks of ponds. I would say it is a memory I cherish, but actually it’s more of a working memory. A memory of biological discovery, an informal introduction to aquatic life. There is something so primal about tadpoles. Especially when you stumble across them. I mean how often do you look twice at your local drainage ditch?
At first we looked from above. Spotting the areas where they congregated under algae. We watched them dart up and open their mouths at the surface, then waft back down crashing into mosquito larvae along the way. After that we got physical and grabbed a few. Seth was not so keen on this idea. He seemed sure that they would be happier in the water and forbid me to keep them out long in the palm of my hand. However, I did keep a few out long enough to get a good look at them in different stages of the life cycle.
STAGE 2 (A HINT OF LEGS)
EMERGING FROM STAGE 2
STAGE 3 (LEGS!)
Don’t tell me that’s not jut the coolest thing going? A little after dinner biology. Pizza and pollywogs what better way to spend a mid spring evening Boy’s Almanac style!