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Pond life

Tadpoles are as easy to find as they are difficult to identify. A taxonomic key has been developed to try to solve this challenge, at least in the north of the Atlantic Forest. “The mouth, or oral apparatus, is highly related to the food source: it indicates, for example, if the animal is a grazer, filter, or carnivore,” explains biologist Marcos Dubeux, who worked on the key during his undergraduate degree at the Federal University of Alagoas. Papillae, dental ridges, and labial teeth are all used to differentiate species, as shown in the set of images above.

Images submitted by biologist Marcos Dubeux, a master’s student at the Federal University of Pernambuco