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Pictures - Frog Life Cycle in a Water Feature

Updated on September 2, 2014
naturegirl7 profile image

Yvonne enjoys photographing and studying the many mammals, reptiles and amphibians that dwell in her backyard habitat in Louisiana.

Male and Female Bronze Frog Reflect

Male and Female Bronze frog decided to use our old iron wash pot water feature as a nursery.
Male and Female Bronze frog decided to use our old iron wash pot water feature as a nursery. | Source

Bronze Frogs

There are many species of amphibians living in our habitat. One species that has chosen our rain garden and old pump fountain and kettle water feature as its home is called a Bronze frog (Rana clamitans clamitans). Bronze frogs are a subspecies of the Green Frog. This is the only type of Green frog inhabiting Louisiana.

For several years, a pair has courted and raised tadpoles in the water fountain feature near the rain garden.  This year I took pictures of the the frogs and their eggs and tadpoles.

Male and female Bronze frog courting at night.
Male and female Bronze frog courting at night. | Source

Eggs and Small Tadpoles

The Bronze Frog eggs were laid at night on May 26.
The Bronze Frog eggs were laid at night on May 26. | Source
The tadpoles were about a week old, here.
The tadpoles were about a week old, here. | Source

A Frog's Life Cycle

The cycle began after one of the two rainstorms that we had this spring. On the night of May 26th, a male and female Bronze frog met in the rain garden water feature. She laid hundreds of eggs in a clump and he fertilized them.

A few days later, the eggs hatched into tadpoles that were so tiny, the camera could not focus on them. By the time they were a week old, you could make out the wiggly black spots in the water. Mother frog stays close to the kettle and moist rain garden. Especially since we are experiencing a drought in Louisiana.

I will continue to take photographs as the tadpoles grow. The tadpoles usually take about 3 months to develop into frogs. Since these hatched out in late May, they will probably go through metamorphosis and grow into frogs by late summer or early September.


Tadpoles, About 12 Days Old

Bronze frog tadpoles, around a pine needle. They are still small, but you can see a mouth and eyes.
Bronze frog tadpoles, around a pine needle. They are still small, but you can see a mouth and eyes. | Source

Tadpole With Back Legs

The tadpoles develop back legs first.
The tadpoles develop back legs first. | Source

Tadpole With Back Legs Pictures

As they develop, the tadpoles must come to the top more often to breathe.
As they develop, the tadpoles must come to the top more often to breathe. | Source

July 13 - A Tadpole With Legs

The Bronze frog tadpoles have grown quite large and at least one of them has grown back legs. They are eating algae from the leaves that are hanging over into the water. You can see the holes in the leaves.

Apparently, there were at least two different sets of eggs. Some of the tadpoles are very small, so they must have hatched out much later, probably in the last month.

The oldest tadpoles should develop into baby frogs in a month or so. I'll keep you posted.

NEWS FLASH! July 20

Some of the tadpoles have turned into frogs! I first saw one that still had a short tail. It was sitting on the edge of the iron pot. When I approached it jumped into the water and quickly swam across, exiting on the other side.

Now (on July 27) there are a few hopping around, but they are so small and fast, that I have been unable to get a clear picture. I'll keep trying between the rain storms. The frogs love this weather, but it makes it really hard to take pictures of the little ones.


Old Pump and Iron Kettle Water Feature

The water feature circulates the water when the pump is turned on. We keep it off so the tadpoles will be safe.
The water feature circulates the water when the pump is turned on. We keep it off so the tadpoles will be safe. | Source

Home Made Water Features

We created this water feature from an old kettle which was once used to boil and wash clothes, about 100 years ago, on my Mom's farm. The old hand pump, which is at least 50 years old, was given to us by the neighbors when they moved.

We bought a fitting for a pipe we had and ran clear, half inch plastic tubing up into the hand pump spout. At first the tubing was connected to a solar water pump that sat in the kettle. Now we have a regular electric water pump in the kettle that circulates the water.

In the spring or when ever frogs lay their eggs in the kettle, we use a leaky water hose that drips into the kettle to provide fresh water. Once the tadpoles turn into frogs, we will start running the circulating pump again on so that when we sit on the front porch, we can hear the soothing sound of the running water.

Bronze Frog Sunning

The female Bronze Frog lives in the rain garden and the old iron pump fountain.
The female Bronze Frog lives in the rain garden and the old iron pump fountain. | Source

Bronze Frog Facts

Bronze frogs are a subspecies of the Green Frog, which is one of the most common of the True Frogs in the southeastern United States. Maximum length is about 3 inches.

Green and Bronze frogs are often confused with other true frogs like the Bullfrog, Pig frog, Leopard and Pickerel Frogs. You can tell them apart by looking at the ridges that extend from the eye on each side of the body. In Green and Bronze frogs, the ridges do not extend the entire length of the body.

Their banjo like call can be heard from ponds, ditches, streams and other wetland areas. One of the common names is the "Banjo Frog".

Adult frogs eat many creatures, including: beetles, flies, butterflies and dragonflies as well as invertebrates such as worms, crawfish and slugs. Spiders, millipedes, centipedes, smaller frogs and snails are also eaten. Tadpoles eat algae and rotting plants and sometimes the eggs of other frogs.

Bronze Frog Calling Video

Frog Poll

Do you have Green Frogs or the Bronze subspecies in your area?

See results

Bronze Frog in the Rain

Another of the adult Bronze frogs that live in the rain garden.
Another of the adult Bronze frogs that live in the rain garden. | Source

© 2011 Yvonne L. B.

Please don't hop away before commenting

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    • naturegirl7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne L. B. 

      7 years ago from South Louisiana

      Thanks Jimmie. My yard is a little weedy right now, but the wildlife don't mind. I'm working to tidy it up.

      Yes, the reflection from the water feature turned out well in the first shot. It's my favorite, too. Wouldn't it make a great story starter?

      Some frogs, like the green tree frog are beautiful!

    • JimmieWriter profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 

      7 years ago from Memphis, TN USA

      Who knew frogs could be so beautiful? Fantastic photography. That 1st photo is my fave. Would love to see your garden in person.

    • naturegirl7 profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne L. B. 

      7 years ago from South Louisiana

      Thanks. I enjoy snapping photos of and writing about the wildlife here in south Louisiana.

    • DRG Da Real Grinc profile image

      Felix J Hernandez 

      7 years ago from All over the USA

      Awesome pictures. Mkaes me want to get a pet frog. TY for the insight.

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