Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) Tadpole of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis). A tadpole (also known as a pollywog) is the larval stage of an amphibian life cycle, particularly that of a frog or toad. Tadpoles are usually aquatic but some frog species have tadpoles that are terrestrial. During the tadpole stage most respire by means of autonomous external or internal gills. They do not usually have arms or legs until the transition to adulthood, and typically have a large, flattened tail with which they swim by lateral undulation, similar to most fish. When first hatched from the egg they have a more or less globular body, a laterally compressed tail and internal or external gills. As they grow they undergo metamorphosis, during which process they grow limbs, develop lungs and reabsorb the tail. Magnification: x4 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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