You may recall that we commented in Linda Bower's leeches video that the tadpoles only had hind legs. I always assumed that the front legs would start as little buds, growing larger slowly like the hind legs do. It turns out that they do, but hidden inside the gills. Notice above the bump below and behind the eye. That is the front leg awaiting its debut. So how does a tadpole become a frog?
|"Look Ma, no hands!"|
|Front leg peeking out of gill opening|
|Three legs and a leg lump in the gills|
As seen in Linda's video, front legs rarely erupted simultaneously. Generally one leg appeared five or six hours before the other. So for a short spell the tadpoles were swimming around with three legs which common sense would say might prevent the tadpole from swimming straight. Wrong, they swam as straight as those with two or four legs.
|Right elbow out but the "fingers" still in the gills.|
Now watch in Linda's video and pay special attention starting at 2:24 and you will see the front leg on the right emerge and start functioning.
|"Free at last. Time to suck up my tail and eat meat!" *|