In our own juvenile stage, many of us received our wide-eyed introduction to the wonders of nature by watching the metamorphosis of swimming tadpoles into leaping frogs and toads. The recent declines in amphibian populations worldwide and the suitability of amphibians for use in answering research questions in disciplines as diverse as molecular systematics, animal behaviour and evolutionary biology have focused enormous attention on tadpoles. In this reference, experts on tadpole biology relate what is known about tadpoles and what one might learn from them in the future. The book provides summaries of tadpole morphology, development, behaviour, ecology and environmental physiology; explores the evolutionary consequences of the tadpole stage; synthesizes available information on their biodiversity; and presents a standardized terminology and a literature review of tadpole biology.
Roy W. McDiarmid is a research zoologist and curator of amphibians and reptiles for the U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, at the National Museum of Natural History. Ronald Altig is a professor of biological science at Mississippi State University.