The tadpoles shown here are Green Frogs (Lithobates clamitans) in tank 6. As of tonight, all eight experiment tanks have many tadpoles and eggs, with the past week seeing many clutches of eggs being laid by Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs (Hyla chrysoscelis).
The ponds at Yalobusha farms produce many tadpoles, especially Green Frogs (Lithobates clamitans) and Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) and the Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis).
The ponds are also host to many larvae of the blue dasher dragonflies (Pachydiplax longipennis), which swarm over the katniss and chase each other around the ponds.
BUT, the creature in the ponds that seem to have the most intense ecological impact are the Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), which are voracious eaters of mosquito larvae.
In fact, there aren’t any mosquito larvae found in the ponds because Mosquitofish reproduce to fill all available space and consume the floating egg cases as soon as they are laid, often while they are being laid, along with the female mosquito.
For ten years before the ponds were dug, the back yard was plain St. Augustine grass and swarmed with Asian tiger mosquitoes no matter how dry or how rainy the year had been.
Now that the ponds are there, mosquitos are sparse.
Here is a video of fish swimming in the first pond:
Down below is some audio of tree frogs singing intensely at Yalobusha Farms in Decatur, Georgia on a warm May night in 2019.
The picture above is from the daytime a few days ago, and it shows the irises blooming at the far left and all the vegetation surging back.
The tadpole pond at is about 10 feet away from the back screen porch of my house, just down past a low retaining wall swallowed in plants.
The audio was recorded on my screen porch at night, and it is mostly the sounds of the male’s chirpy croaking, but there are a few female calls answering back. Those are the occasional yipping sounds that are higher in pitch and more urgent and shorter.
The pond’s first summer was 2018, just a few months after it was dug, but the sprigs of plants we put in it grew explosively, and the frogs and insects colonized it immediately.
It was surreal how quickly the pond established itself because I didn’t use fertilizers or tend the plants or do anything that might put appearance or speed ahead of letting it happen on its own with minimal input.
But, by the time August rolled around, the pond looked and functioned like it had been in place for years. Hummingbirds and dragonflies and bees flew in and out constantly.
Bird Watching Blind
My bathroom window is now a great bird-watching blind, especially for hummingbirds and dragonflies and bees of many types. There are lots of songbirds and butterflies and the rabbits that eat the sweet potatoes I have growing around the pond mixed in with the milkweed.