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Re: monster tadpoles

Paul wrote:
"In the '60s a man named Merill s. Rose did some fascinating experiments on
inhibition in tadpoles.  He found that in an aquarium only one or two grew
well, and the rest were stunted and did not eat very much, in spite of an
abundance of food...."

There was a show on the Discovery Channel recently (within the past 2 weeks)
about life in a freshwater pond and they focused on tadpoles and how most of
them exist happily on algae while others become cannibalistic monsters which
devour their smaller cousins (and any other aquatic creatures they can
catch). They didn't go into much detail as to the exact mechanism of what
triggers this sort of change, but said that it was an evolutionary attempt
to get at least some tadpoles (the mean ones) to grow quickly and reach
adulthood before the temporary pools they lived in dried up. The monsters
became weaker adults than the normal tadpoles, but during droughts they
ensured that at least some tadpoles reached adulthood before the water in
the pools evaporated.

A call to your local Discovery Channel outlet might put you in touch with
the producers of the program... they might know of someone who is still
investigating this sort of thing.

James Purchase