At the bottom of this post are two videos of tadpoles of the Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans) swimming in experiment tank #6. One video is from June 27, 2022, and the second is from June 30.
Juvenile Green Frogs have laid several clutches of eggs in all eight experiment tanks. Cope’s Gray Tree Frogs (Hyla chrysoscelis) have also laid several clutches of eggs in every tank as far as I can tell.
Here is a video of tadpoles swimming in the first pond in its third month of existence.
I incorrectly identified these as tree frog tadpoles, which I now know to be smaller.
Based on countless observations over the past four years, I am fairly certain that the tadpoles in this video are those of the common Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans), the dominate amphibian species of most freshwater biomes in the U.S. and elsewhere.
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:
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.