We now look at another tropical water lily pest–the tadpole of a tree frog.
Some weeks back, I noticed some tadpoles in one of our stock tanks. It happened to be the one that houses our plant stock for N. ‘Charlie’s Pride’. We keep it simple here! No state of the art filters, or unnecessary chemicals. We get dragon flies, damsel flies, ladybugs, and other beneficial critters. We also keep wakin in most of our stock tanks so as to control mosquitoes and provide supplement for the tropical water lilies. Essentially we look to nature to manage the ecosystems and therefore, it was a pleasant sight to see the tadpoles.
Recently there has been some significant damage to our N. ‘Charlie’s Pride’ plant stock. Thankfully each tropical water lily variety is separated into their own stock tank so the damage was contained. The damage that occurred was very severe–water lily pads eaten down to their skeleton. This damage knocked our entire line of N. ‘Charlie’s Pride’ out of commission for awhile.
Upon conducting some research, we were able to determine that the tree frog tadpoles belonged to the ‘Cuban tree frog’ which is a non-native species. Our only remedy is to remove all plants and then scoop out all tadpoles with a net. We then remove the destroyed foliage, fertilize the plants, and finally return them to the stock tank. Due to the resilience of tropical water lilies, they spring back rather quickly!
Perhaps with a large pond, this damage may be limited or may not occur but with a small to medium sized pond, these tadpoles could wreak havoc upon your tropical water lilies.
A contributor to this article, “DG” suggested that the tadpoles could be used to educate children. We suggest that a pond owner conduct their own research and if possible seek help from an local agricultural extension agency. If the tadpoles are determined to be native species–share tadpoles with a local school so that children can learn about metamorphosis or even relocate to a local pond or lake.
Photo credit: Picture of tree frogs. Craig Presnell of Luster Aquatic Nursery.
Contributor credit: Educate children about metamorphosis with tadpoles. DG.