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Name: Craig
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Question:
A student just brought a mother toad into our classroom. She has the toad in a mixing bowl with thousands of eggs and about a pint of pond water. Are these eggs fertilized? Do they become fertilized in the female or after they are layed? Can we watch them develop in our classroom? Is there any special water, lighting, temperature, or plants I should include?



Replies:
I believe all toad eggs are externally fertilized while they are being laid, with the pair together. I don't think the female would have laid the eggs without the presence of a male to fertilize them - how did the student get the female and the eggs? Try to get some details about where and how they were collected, if the student saw or scared off and failed to catch a male with the female then the eggs might be fertile. If so they should hatch with very little effort on your part, a good size aquarium with a few duckweed or other small water plants from the area would be fine, no special lighting or temperature should be required. If they hatch you will have to find out about feeding the tadpoles.

J. Elliott



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