As spring comes to our area the annual life cycle begins anew. For the last few evenings I have heard the mating songs of the frogs and toads. This evening I visited a local wetland to check on the progress and found many egg masses deposited in the shallow water. Inside the gelatinous mass of each egg is a small black tadpole.
I take time to muse on what the future holds for the new life contained in these eggs. Life is delicate and uncertain at best and only a very few of the eggs will ever survive to become an adult. The spawn creates a feeding bonanza for water fowl. Ducks and Geese spend much of their day now searching the wetlands feeding on not only the spawn but also new vegetation. Soon the egg masses will hatch into tadpoles which will likewise be food for water fowl. Many of these wetlands may dry out before the tadpoles have grown legs and lungs, giving them the ability to escape the puddle where life began. Even then their life will be fraught with danger having little chance to survive until mating season next spring.
Small creatures such as these which are such an important part of the food chain reproduce in large volume. Although the chance of any one individual surviving to reproduce is slim it only takes a very small percentage to guarantee the future of the species.