CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
European toads, Bufo bufo, mating. The male (top) is smaller & more slender than the female. When a male encounters a female ready to spawn he climbs onto her back. They then spend several days in the reeds & on the floor of the pond, until the female is ready to ovulate. The eggs are released as 2 long fibres which are quickly fertilised by the male's sperm. This process is repeated 10-20 times until the entire fibre is 2 m long. The egg fibres are then pulled about and entangled around plants. Once ovulation ceases the male climbs off, and the female leaves the site.
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