Walking around the edge of pond there are very dense clouds of the little black tadpoles that I think are toad. More tadpole than water in some cases. I saw some small fingerling bass swimming around but they seemed to avoid the whole congregation. Maybe they are full or toad tadpoles don't eat very well?
Jim these are indeed the 'toad poles' of the American Toad. Yours are almost at the exact stage as the ones in my pond. Google what the adult male and female american toad look like. They all make a ruckus of calls on spring nights with air temps hit a certain point. They all then meet in the water (even though they spend their life on land) They carouse, compete, then the smaller male clings to the larger females back while eggs are laid and fertilized. Big strings of eggs lay on the bottom for about another week. The strands get larger and fuzzier as they expand and then one day there are zillions of little black toads. I think Azteca just posted a video of the little critters.
I have never had any fish try to eat them. Remember LMB eat tadpoles and frogs but these are NOT frogs, they are toads. Perhaps they release some substance that warns critters to not eat them which is wild since LMB will try to eat ANYTHING.
I always want to rake out the fall leaves and left over algae this time of year but I can't once the toad mating begins for fear of raking out the toad egg strands or later the toads tinies themselves. They do an AWESOME job of eating everything on the bottom in the shallows. They put a big dent in my shallow water algae. The bottom goes from nasty brown to clean sand by the time they are done. Then slowly they grow legs and one day they all crawl out of the pond together. If you catch this mass exodus you will see the grass moving with millions of tiny toads struggling to work their way through the grass towards the woods. They then disappear in the woods the rest of the year till that magic warm night in the spring when they all jump back in your pond!
1. Toads don't 'copulate', 'date' or 'mate', they 'amplex' or get into position of 'amplexus'
2. Toads secrete a predator-repelling toxin, a chemical weapon! The class of chemicals are called bufadienolides. Studies show it is wildly effective against fish and vertebrate predators but less so for invertebrate predators. The main predators of these toad-poles are backswimmers and dragon fly nymphs and then sticklebacks and newts (in that order) This probably explains why there is always tons of backswimmers and dragonfly larvae in my pond too! This is probably why the fish keep their distance.
They get eaten in my pond also. I once found a bunch in a drying up puddle and decided to save them. I put them in a bucket and dumped them in my pond which created a feeding frenzy of panfish and small Bass. Oops sorry little guys.
I don't have bass, and I have seen perch snap them up by accident when eating feed, and spit the tadpole out minus the feed.
Ever notice that the vast majority of tadpoles all swim in the same direction? 9/10 times it is counter-clockwise around the pond perimeter. Only once I saw it going the other way. I really don't know why other than to guess they start in the morning and follow as the sun heats the water in a certain direction.
yup, counter clockwise in my pond too, all day long.
Since I had pretty sizable crop of algae under my ice this year and big mats floating even at ice out I put blue/black dye in. Algae must have died or sunk as I can't see any anymore. But I miss being able to see the toads and minnows in the shallows due to the dark water tint.
The toad orgy is almost deafening in our pond. It’s hard to have a conversation when they are trilling at full volume. I wonder how far a toad will travel to participate? I am always amazed at how many toads show up for the “event”. We see a lot of toads throughout the year, but just a tiny fraction that show up on the big day. Clouds of tiny black tadpoles around the edges of our pond now. I’ll have to look closely to see what direction they are swimming. I’ll be there tomorrow. We still have thousands of the big bullfrog tadpoles swimming around also. My fish don’t touch either of the tadpoles. I’ve seen them on the dock from when the kingfisher will accidentally grab one, but spit it out.
Last edited by SetterGuy; 05/25/2208:32 AM.
8 yr old pond, 1 ac, 15' deep. RES, YP, GS, FHM (no longer), HBG (going away), SMB, and HSB (didn’t make it. 0 seen in 5 yrs) Restocked HSB (2020) I think we have survivors! I think that's about all I should put in my little pond.
We are lucky enough that the coyotes eat every toad before they can breed. The one year we did have toad tadples the birds gobbled them up along the shore. We only have the leopard frogs, and bull frogs that are faster and a bit smarter than the toads to out whit the coyotes.