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Who ate all the tadpoles?

We relined the pond and removed 100's of brown fish cross between goldfish and shubunkins. We gave them away. 

This year we had high hopes for the tadpoles--both toad and frog. Plenty of spawn, plenty of tadpoles. Then came the mystery of the disappearing tadpoles. Every morning there were less. Then I noticed a number of BIG larvae each one with a tadpole in its jaws.

Dytiscus larvae! On close inspection there must have been well over 50 all munching a tadpole. On reading up I found that they can eat 20 in an HOUR but I guess this is a misprint --must be in a day. To save the last remaining tadpoles but I think I was too late - I caught the larvae --about 20 and the hens really liked them! By the time i did this a lot of the larvae had gone presumably to pupate. I cannot see a single tadpole left. 

Next year I will be more vigilant and remove the larvae earlier. this used to be a brilliant amphibian pond. At least we still have plenty of Newts. 





  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,982

    Things have their up and down years. I can remember a great diving beetle larvae year at a previous pond. I can believe 20 in an hour. They were going for fish 3 or 4 times their size. We had to do a cull. Now we have a few.

    Newts are now the dominant species. 

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Go newts! image

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Dragonfly larva are voracious.

  • Peat BPeat B Posts: 441
    Newts ??? a possibility. Frogs and toads and newts do not do not make good pond fellows . They eat each others babies, thus making them poor child minders for each other. Unless you actually SEE squadrons dragonflies or water beetles, I doubt that this may be the problem.

    As nutcutlet says, they have their ups 'n' doons, so perhaps, introduce some pollywogs next year, fro a different breeding stock. every species has its day.
  • Gillian53Gillian53 Posts: 112

    Fescue. Why don't you make a small tadpole nursery in a plastic storage box or tank. Put a few of the new taddies in and give them a head start. Once they are a good size place them back in the pond.

    Apparently only about three tadpoles ever reach full maturity out of a lump of spawn. That's why they lay so many eggs. Tadpoles are very low down in the food chain. 

  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,123

    Why worry in the first place. A wildlife pond is exactly what it should be. Nature taking all it's elements, mixing them up some species have a good year others do not. If left alone, the balance will come naturally. 

    Human interference with the natural balance is why so much in nature is in trouble.

  • Peat BPeat B Posts: 441
    I think that there is VERY little 'Natural' life left in our countryside these days. The mere fact of making a 'wildlife pond' for the animals, is a contradiction in itself.

    I will be going up to the 'reserve' or 'sanctuary' later today, to see how the pollywogs have dealt with the rain yesterday. Pondweeds, and aquatic plants have got off to a good start this year, with some help from a possible natural pond mud gathered in a bucket. Have I breached EU rules on 'naturalisation' ? Buggered if I know, but something is benefitting from the barbarity !
  • little beelittle bee Posts: 68

    i am having problems with my oxygenator plants I have had to replace 3 now, they start off big and bushy & end up sparse & stringy can it be the tadpoles are they eating them or is it something sinister I hope someone can help as it's costing me a fortuneimage


  • Peat BPeat B Posts: 441
    No reports of a Loch Ness type monster in any garden ponds recently, so I'd look towards the dreaded spotted herbaceous pondweed decimator, if I were you. They can grow up to 3 metres long and take out a leylandii hedge overnight !
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,737

    I've spotted Diving Beetle Larvae eating my water violet - could be them. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

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