Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The time for changing shape

There are still a lot of Common Newts in the two ponds in thw garden. They have bred and their young or larvae are beginning to develop, provided they evade the clutches of the many predators that lurk in the jungle under the surface.

Adult newts look most at home when they are swimming in the pond, they are quick and manoeuvrable.

In fact newts spend much of the time out of water. They hibernate on dry land and return to the pond between late February to May.when the temperature is above 0 deg C.

They normally leave the ponds in late July. They are nocturnal and spend the day hiding under large stones or compost heaps. Adult newts shed their skin as often as once a week.

 The larvae have external gills, which absorb oxygen directly from the water..The two here presumably hatched at different times, the smaller one must be several weeks behind the larger on on its way to maturity.

About 10 weeks later most have metamorphosed into air-breathing juveniles and leave the pond.  Some tadpoles, however, may overwinter in the larval state, only emerging from the water the following year. They become sexually mature at 3 years of age.

There are still a lot of tadpoles in the ponds. Many are small and black like the one above, and have developed back legs. The tail is round, not pointed as in the case of Common Frogs, as these are Toad Tadpoles.

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