In The Pond

Dear Readers, my lovely husband has had another bash at reducing the duckweed in the pond, and I think it’s now down to abou 50% cover so I can actually see what’s happening with the tadpoles. What a lot there are this year! It’s difficult to get a proper portrait of the little wigglers, but here are a couple of attempts.

The one on the right looks to me as if his or her back legs are on the verge of busting out. How strange it must be to be a tadpole and to completely change from a legless aquatic vegetarian to a four-legged carnivore in the space of just a few months. Goodness knows it’s hard enough with the stages of life that us humans go through, and we don’t (completely) change our body shape, although we do seem to acquire extra dimensions in some places. At least we don’t suddenly find ourselves wide-mouthed and grinning on a lilypad, and the diet of flies and slugs would be a bit wearisome.

I was also struck by the difference in size between the different tadpoles – sometimes, some tadpoles will overwinter in the pond and turn into frogs in the spring, while others will go hell for leather and become frogs before the autumn. I guess that the variation means that at least some will survive, whatever the weather conditions, but the smaller ones will be at risk of being cannibalised by their larger brothers and sisters.

And after all, this feels like such an annual miracle. I have no idea where the frogs lived before the pond arrived, or where they go to when they leave the pond (some do stay to hibernate on the bottom, but goodness knows where the rest go. It’s been lovely to take a break between my DNA transcription and my protein translation, but now it’s back to work for another hour. Progress is being made but however well you plan, it never seems enough, at least for a perfectionist like me, who doesn’t know when to stop. Onwards!

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