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A tadpole (also known as a pollywog, poliwag or polliwog) is the wholly aquatic juvenile amphibian, a stage in the life cycle of a frog or toad.
Additional recommended knowledge
During the tadpole stage of the amphibian life cycle, most breathe by means of autonomous external or internal gills. They do not usually have arms or legs until the transition to adulthood, and typically have dorsal or fin-like appendages and a tail with which they swim by lateral undulation, similar to most fish. As tadpoles mature, they most commonly metamorphosize by gradually growing limbs and then (most commonly in the case of frogs) outwardly absorbing its tail by apoptosis. Lungs develop around the time of leg development and tadpoles late in development will often be found near the surface of the water where they breath air. During the final stages of external metamorphosis, the tadpole's mouth must change from a small enclosed mouth at the front of the head, to a large mouth the same width as the head. The intestines shorten to make way for the new diet.
Most tadpoles are herbivorous, subsisting on algae and plants. Some species are omnivorous, eating detritus and, whenever available, other tadpoles. Very few are carnivores.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tadpole". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|