|When do tadpoles (polliwogs) start to appear in
the creeks of Santa Barbara? When are the most
Most tadpoles (polliwogs) appear in the Santa
Barbara coastal streams during the spring season.
The exact time depends on water availability and
water temperature but greatest abundance is
usually found in late spring or early summer.
Breeding behavior in frogs and toads is triggered
by an increase in the number of hours of daylight
as spring approaches. Frogs and toads lay their
eggs in calm backwaters in the stream and the eggs
incubate for several days to weeks. Small tadpoles
will hatch from the eggs and consume algae as a
food source. Depending on the species of frog or
toad, the larval stage (tadpole) can last several
weeks to months before metamorphosis into the
adult. Most tadpoles complete metapmorphosis
throughout the summer and by fall have become
functional adults. Hope this helps
Tadpoles of various species of local frogs have
different schedules.The most widespread species is
the Pacific treefrog (Hyla regilla); these begin
to breed in January, and will continue into August
or September. Tadpoles are present in most ponds
and some streams locally from late January through
early October (though any individual tadpole
requires only about 6 weeks to grow from hatching
to metamorphosis). The other common frog locally
is the much larger bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), an
introduced species found in larger ponds.
Bullfrogs lay eggs in June, and the tadpoles
require a full year to reach metamorphosis.
Other local species avoid the coastal slope and
built-up areas, but are locally common in the
mountains, or on inland streams. Breeding seasons
for these are: western toad (Bufo boreas)- January
to March, tadpoles metamorphosing now; Arroyo toad
(Bufo californicus) March-June, metamorphosis late
May to mid July; Calif. treefrog (Hyla cadaverina)
Feb-May, tadpoles March through July.
the largest numbers of tadpoles (all species
combined) are to be found in April, May and early
Most polliwogs or tadpoles in the local streams
belong to the genus Hyla, the tree frogs. Most
tadpoles hatch from eggs in May - early June,
develop over the summer, and metamorphose into
subadults and emerge from the streams in
September. A few individuals may deviate a bit
from this general pattern.
I think polliwogs hatch out during rains, so in
the winter here. That's when I often hear lots of
frogs croaking. And in Virginia I used to see
polliwogs filling puddles after summer rains, and
it looked like lots of polliwogs died as the
puddles dried up.
For raising polliwogs in
class, I've had good luck ordering egg masses them
from a school science supplier - I forget who, but
Carolina Biological should be a possibiliy.
I used to let the egg mass hatch in a
cereal bowl of water, then after a few days when
the tadpoles were ready to be fed, I'd transfer
them to little fish bowls in the classroom. One
classroom had desks next to each other in rows
across the classroom, and each row of desks had a
fishbowl. They tended to die sometime after
getting legs and before losing their tail - the
water got murky; I've forgotten a lot of the
details. But they grew lots while they lived, and
I had at least one that became a frog. They're
fascinating, as I remember, under a magnifying
glass when they're tiny and their gills are
They were fun - Good
ps - we had a neat old population
explosion "poster' that showed 2 frogs on the
front when folded, then you opened it to show 4
frogs, 8, 16, 32, 64, (they must have multiplied
faster than 2-fold because the back of the poster
was crowded with what looked like hundreds of
Frog eggs hatch in the spring (enough water
around, lots of sunshine so water temperature
rises, and fresh water algae bloomed). They
develop and metamorphose for about 2-3 months
(temperature dependent) and the next mating take
place in the late summer.
Carneros, the fresh water wet lands (away from the
beaches) around the airport and on campus by
Central Stores are all good places to see them and
listen to the music of mating later
Many of the creeks in the local
water shed will also likely to be homes to grogs
of various species. Even wet soil and moist back
yard greenery may be a hiding place for Mom and
Dad Frogs who will lay her eggs in the moist
Enjoy hosting them, and be sure
to be good, responsible hosts.
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