Frog tadpoles eating dead newt?

April 26th 2015

This apparently gruesome scene was spotted by David and Avril Haines in a roadside pond at Culkein Drumbeg (NC1033) on 14th April 2015. It appears to show Common Frog tadpoles feeding on a dead Palmate Newt, but it is not what it seems.

At this stage in their life, tadpoles are vegetarian, using seven series of horny ‘teeth’ around their beak-like mandibles to graze on green algae and other vegetable matter. Later, when their legs begin to develop, they become carnivorous.

So these tadpoles are actually just feeding on the filamentous algae which cover everything in such places, as the water warms up, including dead newts and any spawn that has failed to hatch. Later on, who knows?

D and A Haines/Ian Evans

Common Frog Tadpoles and Palmate Newt, Pollachapuill. Photo D. Haines
Common Frog Tadpoles and Palmate Newt, Pollachapuill. Photo D. Haines

Report a Sighting

Recent Sightings

Frog Spawn

around 12 clumps in roadside ditch near Pollachapuill, Culkein Drumbeg (DAH). The first record for the last four years: 2018 - 13 March; 2017 - 19 Feb; 2016 - 3 March; 2015 - 19 Feb. (16/02)

Wigeon

single female Oldany estuary (DAH) (16/02)

Grey Heron

seven birds Oldany estuary (DAH) (16/02)

Curlew

nine birds Oldany estuary (DAH) (16/02)

Toad

single animal Loch Culag (Fiona Carter) (15/02)

Song Thrush

single bird in full song at 7.30am, Nedd (Ian Evans) (13/02)

Great Spotted Woodpecker

single bird in Lochinver garden (Jane and Ian Young) (11/02)

Dipper

three birds on River Inver opposite Little Assynt Tree Nursery (DAH) (11/02)

Map