tadpole, larval, aquatic stage of any of the amphibian animals. After hatching from the egg, the tadpole, sometimes called a polliwog, is gill-breathing and legless and propels itself by means of a tail. During the period of metamorphosis it develops the lungs, legs, and other organs of the adult and, in the frog and the toad, loses the tail.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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