Animal children among the amphibians

Toads, frogs and newts belong to the class of animals known as "amphibians or "amphibians". Long before mammals there were amphibians on earth. Their way of life has hardly changed since then. They still start their lives in the water and end them on land.

Spring spawning business

In common toads, the female carries the male piggyback. (Photo: Sixta Gortz)
Pair of toads on the move
Frogspawn. (Photo: public domain)
Frogs with frogspawn
Toad spawn. (Photo: Mike Kruger cc-by-sa 2.0)
Toad spawning in water

In spring, adult amphibians come to water to mate and spawn. "Spawning" are called the eggs of amphibians.

On the move

The grass frogs are usually the first and are already on their way to the next body of water in February. As nights get warmer again in early April, other amphibians are making their move. For example, now begins the time of the toad migration, when thousands of common toads run to the water at the same time. Newts also return to the waters at this time.

Different spawn

The spawn of toads, frogs and newts looks very different: Frog spawn floats in thick, gooey balls on the water’s surface and looks a little like Jell-O. Toad spawn moves through the water in long strings. Newts wrap their spawn in aquatic plants, making it very hard to detect.

Growing up through transformation

(Photo: CLauter cc-by-sa)

When amphibians hatch from the egg, they stay in the water for several more weeks or months. As adults, however, they generally live on land. So their body has to change from an aquatic animal to a terrestrial one. This process is called "metamorphosis". The term comes from the Greek and means "transformation".

A freshly hatched common toad, for example, looks like a fat little ball with a tail. They are called "tadpole. The bigger it gets, the more details you can see. On the sides of the head, you can see the gill fringes that allow the animal to breathe underwater.

As the little toad develops, it changes more and more: while the strong rudder tail gradually recedes, the four legs grow. Most of the time you can even see the rest of the tail when the toad first comes ashore. But it soon disappears.

And breathing? While the toad is still breathing with gills as a tadpole, the lungs are already growing inside its body. Finally, the toad must be able to breathe air on land. At the same time as the legs grow, the lungs become larger and stronger. Finally, it’s time for the young toad to come ashore. To do this, the animals look for a rise in the water or climb onto the bank. Now they are still tiny, but already fully developed. It won’t be until next spring that they are adult enough to provide their own offspring.

When toads, frogs and newts are fully grown, most species use the water habitat only to mate and spawn.

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