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Lilypads; Toads Mating



     


One of the early signs of spring is the sound of a toad trying to attract a mate. The high-pitched trilling begins the first warm night in March or April and continues on and off for a couple of months. Toadsong is loud, particularly when as many as five males are competing. It can take as long as a week to get the attention of a female and lure her into the water.

Toads are usually easily frightened off, but they don't notice much - certainly not a zoom lens - while producing eggs, which appear in a long string of gelatinous material that swells on contact with water to form a jelly-like coating. After the eggs have been laid and fertilized, the adult toads leave the pond and return to land. It takes the eggs in the neighborhood of three months to grow tails and then legs, resorb the tails, and become tiny black toads that finally climb out onto land, not to be seen or heard again until the following spring.


Sarah Seastone
sarah@mathforum.org
1994

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