Nests and Nurseries

Part of the Frogs: A Chorus of Colors exhibition.

Parents on the Go

A dart poison tadpole rides piggyback from a terrestrial egg-hatching site to water—a pool, stream or even a tiny puddle on a leaf—where it will develop into a froglet. In a different strategy, the male midwife toad wraps strings of eggs around his hind legs and later sheds them in water.


© Scott Egan

Pickerel Frog Eggs

Protecting Progeny

Like tiny glass jewels, frog eggs cling to carefully chosen leaves; when the time comes, developing tadpoles will emerge and drop into water below. Frog eggs provide a good source of nutrients for predators, so adults of some species stand guard to protect their offspring. Location is key when providing access to water, and certain competing males will wrestle for the best spot.

Foam Home

Frog eggs are well protected when nestled inside a foamy mass of fluid that the parents of some species produce while mating. In certain species these foam nests simply float on the surface of water. Other species put them in caves, among plants or even high up in trees. The eggs inside this moist nursery develop into tadpoles that hatch and then drip into water below, where they transform into frogs.