Recent Tadpole Finds (And Future Guide!)

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mtratcliffe
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Recent Tadpole Finds (And Future Guide!)

Post by mtratcliffe » August 11th, 2015, 4:25 pm

Hey everyone!

It's been raining a lot here in Tampa, and with heavy rains, that means lots of tadpoles! Just about every flood field, depression, and ditch is teeming with tadpoles right now. I'm trying to hone my tadpole ID skills, so I thought I'd bounce some of them off of the forum to see what you all think. Based on a suggestion from Noah, my vision is to create a SE Chapter forum guide for tadpoles and metamorphs, as they are notoriously hard to ID based on the variability and small size. My idea is to list each species found within our geographic area and post photos submitted by forum members that are confirmed vouchers of a species. It will be a living guide that is updated regularly and will hopefully serve as a good reference point for forum members. There aren't many resources online for tadpole identification, and most guides only have one or two photos of a species' tadpole at most, which is often not enough to help with an ID. By having multiple photos from different areas, I hope to paint a clear picture of what tadpoles of a given species look like.

I'll start things off with tadpoles I absolutely can ID - Eastern Narrowmouths! I found these unique-looking tadpoles for the first time the other day, and they might be my favorite yet. They look remarkably similar to their adult forms.

ImageDSCN8513 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8514 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8516 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Next up are what I believe are Cuban Treefrogs. My trick to identifying them is to look for the reddish eyes, but beyond that, I don't know to distinguish them a Squirrel Treefrog tadpole.

Here's a recent metamorph that is definitely Cuban.

ImageDSCN8493 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Another metamorph

ImageDSCN8527 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Tadpoles - ID's appreciated

ImageDSCN8517 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8521 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8472 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr


Now, the remaining tadpoles are what I believe to be Squirrel Treefrogs, but this species is highly variable and I am unable to find any good photos online for reference. Some of these may very well be Cuban Treefrogs, but all of these tadpoles were found at spots where I have heard Squirrels calling before. I can't think of any other species that they might be, though one spot was located very close to where Green Treefrogs call.

To start, here is a recent metamorph.

Imageiphone Squirrel Treefrog CDDAR by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Now for the tadpoles. I'll number each (some are multiple shots of the same individual or indivudals) in case you all have some input to provide.

#1

ImageDSCN8405 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

#2

ImageDSCN8429 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

#3

ImageDSCN8503 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

#4

ImageDSCN8504 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8506 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8507 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

#5

ImageDSCN8508 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

#6

ImageDSCN8522 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8523 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

#7

ImageDSCN8524 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8526 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

I hope you enjoyed these tadpoles! I look forward to starting up this project, but I'll need everyone's help, if you are willing to participate. Let me know what you think!

double d
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Re: Recent Tadpole Finds (And Future Guide!)

Post by double d » August 12th, 2015, 8:26 am

What a great idea matt, I'm going to green swamp tonight , I'll get some different tree frog tadpoles and check the seasonal pond to see if I can get a gopher frog tadpole , I've been finding them in the road around that pond . The ditches are slammed with tadpoles out there right now !!!

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mtratcliffe
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Re: Recent Tadpole Finds (And Future Guide!)

Post by mtratcliffe » August 12th, 2015, 9:00 am

Thanks David. You can post the pics in this thread or just text them to me. Be sure to get underside shots, tail shots, and see if the eyes are located close together nearly on top of the tadpole or on the sides opposite each other.

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Noah M
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Re: Recent Tadpole Finds (And Future Guide!)

Post by Noah M » August 13th, 2015, 6:26 am

I have no clue on these. But if we figure them out it will be neat.

simus343
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Location: Okaloosa ca, Fla.

Re: Recent Tadpole Finds (And Future Guide!)

Post by simus343 » August 13th, 2015, 8:46 am

Most of the tadpole IDs I make I make by already knowing what to expect in the area from what I've seen and heard, and then narrow it down from there.

Narrowmouth "toads" certainly are the easiest to ID here in the SE for sure, in my opinion. I'd say they are closely followed in ease-to-ID by Hyla femoralis because of the striking reds and oranges seen on the tadpoles.

It would be neat to see a comprehensive ID guide to tadpoles that goes into as much detail as possible. So far all I've ever seen is "approximately this big, and looks like this picture"

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mtratcliffe
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Re: Recent Tadpole Finds (And Future Guide!)

Post by mtratcliffe » August 13th, 2015, 9:07 am

simus343 wrote:Most of the tadpole IDs I make I make by already knowing what to expect in the area from what I've seen and heard, and then narrow it down from there.

Narrowmouth "toads" certainly are the easiest to ID here in the SE for sure, in my opinion. I'd say they are closely followed in ease-to-ID by Hyla femoralis because of the striking reds and oranges seen on the tadpoles.

It would be neat to see a comprehensive ID guide to tadpoles that goes into as much detail as possible. So far all I've ever seen is "approximately this big, and looks like this picture"
Yeah, that's how I narrowed down the tadpoles above to either Cubans or STFs. I just don't know if the red eye rule works for every Cuban Treefrog. One thing I plan on doing is going back to these sites and dip-netting again to see if I can't catch them in the metamorph stage, which may offer more clues.

simus343
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Joined: March 30th, 2014, 12:16 pm
Location: Okaloosa ca, Fla.

Re: Recent Tadpole Finds (And Future Guide!)

Post by simus343 » August 13th, 2015, 4:44 pm

Might also try raising some to get a better understanding about the signature characteristics. Tadpole raising was the first type of herp husbandry I ever did when I was about 4 years old. It's super easy.

Crushed up vegetables, fish food, crushed turtle food, and small red-worms are great for raising tadpoles. A few pieces of floating vegetation and wood to allow them to crawl out as they age. I find a wide area with shallow water is best for keeping water well-oxygenated.

I've done this before to survey species around a pond and found more anurans than I anticipated. I didn't take good notes though about the tadpoles' morphology though.

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mtratcliffe
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Re: Recent Tadpole Finds (And Future Guide!)

Post by mtratcliffe » August 19th, 2015, 6:12 pm

I've got an update on the tadpole situation. On Sunday night, after another heavy storm came through, I went back to the spot where I dipnetted Easter Narrowmouth tadpoles, along with Cuban Treefrog and what I thought were Squirrel Treefrog tadpoles. This time, however, I took nine of them home with me to raise in order to see what species they were. As of the writing of this post, two of the tadpoles (which had already sprouted legs) have since morphed into froglets - Squirrel Treefrog froglets, that is! I just released them in a flooded field nearby as they are quite jumpy and need a larger space to roam around in.

Here's pictures of one of them as a tadpole when I caught it Sunday:

ImageDSCN8591 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8592 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

I'm keeping the tadpoles on my front porch, which faces west and receives sun later in the afternoon. The tadpoles are kept in a tupperware container that is wide but shallow. The container is stashed away behind a chair, and receives a little bit of sunlight each day. Here are some pics of my set-up:

Image11200787_10102430197865904_7132972171775790394_n by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8604 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

The water in the container came from the ditch where these tadpoles were caught. Same goes for the vegetation strewn about. I added some wood chips for the froglets to float on, but they were more content to hang on to the sides. To keep them from getting out, I set the lid down on top of the container in a way that it covers up 80% or so of the surface, leaving a small section exposed to the air.

As I mentioned, I started out with nine tadpoles, I believe. One died, and at least two became Squirrel Treefrog froglets. I thought there was a third, but I might be misremembering. The rest are not as far along in their development, and I have a hunch that they might all be Cuban Treefrogs. While they have legs, they have not yet started to leave the water. Here are some pics of the remaining tadpoles:

ImageDSCN8594 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8595 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8601 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8603 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

I'll update you all later on these tadpoles once I get a better idea of what they might be. Now, for my two Squirrel Treefrog subjects, it was only two days after catching them that they began to emerge from the water and demonstrate their jumping skills, which were quite impressive given their size. Here's an iPhone pic showing how I found them yesterday:

Image11863342_10102432568145844_4261363833778571360_n by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Up-close shots. Definitely look like H. squirella to me. These were taken yesterday.

ImageDSCN8607 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8608 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

From today - notice how much the tails have receded in just one day!

ImageDSCN8611 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8612 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8616 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8619 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8623 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8624 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

With some more pics of the other tadpoles, I hope to start the guide soon. There won't be much at first, but it will grow overtime. I'll also work on getting more profile pictures of the tadpoles while in water. I hope you enjoyed the update!

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