Jelly beginning to Go

Weather in the northern part of the UK has been unseasonably cold with temperatures still dipping near to freezing during the night and an chilly wind blowing for the last couple of days.  There has not been a great deal of sign either, just showers and a very cloudy, grey sky with little breaks to permit the sunshine through.

This inclement whether has not seemed to have hindered the progress of the tadpoles, we think all those that are actually going to hatch have now hatched.  The first brave individuals have been spreading out across the pond, by Wednesday of this week they had ventured to the back of the pond and a few could be seen hanging from the pond sides a couple of inches under the surface.  By today, all parts of the pond have been conquered and some of the first of the tadpoles to hatch have spread themselves out amongst the pond weed and other hiding places.

Incidentally, a large number of tadpoles seem content to remain in the projective jelly.  Perhaps these were amongst the last to emerge and therefore still have the remnants of the egg  yolk in their stomachs to sustain them.  They will have no need to leave the jelly until they have to seek food.  The jelly itself is now very discoloured and only a few of the spherical former eggs can be made out in this grey mass.

The Remnants of the Protective Jelly

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture shows the grey, discoloured jelly in which a group of tadpoles can be clearly seen.  Other tadpoles, perhaps the first ones to hatch have now dispersed throughout the pond.  Perhaps those tadpoles remaining close to the jelly have still got the remnants of the egg yolk in their stomachs and so have not been forced to leave the protective jelly environment in order to find food.

Members of the Everything Dinosaur team have not observed any frogs in the pond over the last week.  Even the small, male frog seems to have gone.  As far as we know adult Common Frogs tend not to feed in water, so the frogs may have left the pond to seek food.  Perhaps staying close to the pond or moving further out into the grassy area at the back of the yard.

Talking of food, we have worked out what has been happening to the Rams-horn snails that inhabit the pond.  A male blackbird was observed snatching up a snail from the shallows and attempting to fly off with it.  The snail was found in the middle of the yard in a battered and bloodied state.  It was returned to the water and seems to have survived its ordeal.

We wonder whether the blackbird is going to attempt to snatch a tadpole, they would certainly be more difficult to catch, but at least there is no hard shell to deal with.

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