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Frog Development from Tadpole to Froglet to Adult
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American Bullfrog Metamorphosis: Tadpole to Frog
This page is devoted to bullfrog tadpole metamorphosis with photos of our bullfrogs at different stages of their development. Below are photos and descriptions of the three bullfrog tadpoles that we followed through metamorphosis.
It can take up to two years for bullfrog tadpoles to change into frogs, but once front legs appear, change happens very quickly. It takes less than 10 days for a bullfrog tadpole to change into a frog once it sprouts front legs !
BIGGIE TAD's Metamorphosis
Bullfrog Tadpoles Before Metamorphosis
For several months the tadpoles just grew bigger, but not at the same rate, so they ranged in size from very big Tads to teeny Tads. Here are pictures of our tadpoles before they began metamorphosis.
Top left: The tadpoles were shipped to us in Michigan during winter. They arrived in a large cardboard shipping box with a Styrofoam box inside and a heat pack. Top right and directly left: The tadpoles mouths are surrounded by little "whiskers" to help them suck up algae and nibble on plants in the tank.
Above left: Side view of American bullfrog tadpole.
and directly right: Although similar in size when shipped to us, the tadpoles grew at different rates.
American Bullfrog Metamorphosis
Since we received the tadpoles in December 2012, all have died. Four died as tadpoles and one jumped out of a small opening in the tank, after changing into a frog (we have since closed that opening). "Lumpy", our bullfrog superstar, only recently died, but lived to ripe old age of three years. Below are the three tadpoles that we have tracked, or are tracking through metamorphosis: Biggie Tad, Lumpy & Tiny Tad. Biggie is the frog who died after jumping out of the tank.
Rear legs first appeared 5/17/13
Two days later rear legs larger and bend at knee 5/19/13
Rear legs well-developed 6/9/13
Tadpole has front legs and body begins to change shape 6/18/13
Tadpole looks like a frog with a tail 6/21/13
to reabsorb tail 6/23/13
Biggie Tad is a frog 6/25/13
Time Table for
BIGGIE TAD's Metamorphosis
- Tadpole ~ 9 months old before began metamorphosis.
- Began metamorphosis 5-17-13: Rear legs appeared.
- 23 days: Rear legs continued to grow.
- 32 days: Front legs appear and head begins to change shape.
- 35 days: Tadpole looks like frog with tail. Begins reabsorbing tail.
- 37 days: Froglet continues reabsorbing tail.
- 39 days: Metamorphosis complete.
As a science educator and mom, I always look for ways to make science fun and interesting for my own elementary school-age children. One of the features of the Home School Science area of this website is a detailed look at our adventures with bullfrogs, including how to find and care for bullfrog tadpoles.
Young children are natural born scientists, full of curiosity! Join the at-home experiments and explorations of a scientist mom & her kids.
The SPO website is best viewed in Microsoft Explorer, Google Chrome or Apple Safari.
Latest Tadpole News
Sad news today. Lumpy, the little bullfrog we raised from a tadpole 2 years ago, died of unknown causes today.
Thanks for showing us how cool frogs are!
> See Lumpy's Story
See Page 2 to meet our most famous bullfrog "Lumpy" and watch a tadpole video!!
The information on this page falls into four categories:
- Bullfrog tadpoles before metamorphosis.