Page last updated at 10:08 GMT, Monday, 19 May 2008 11:08 UK

'Rare' albino tadpoles uncovered

Black and white spawn (Pic: Peter Weijers)
The tadpoles took around three of four months to develop from spawn

Conservationists have been observing a garden pond in Carmarthenshire after albino tadpoles were discovered there.

The tadpoles have characteristic pink eyes and pale colouration and were first discovered when four separate blobs of albino spawn were spotted.

The location of the pond has been kept secret while further research is undertaken.

Conservation group Froglife said it was unlikely the tadpoles would turn into albino frogs.

Although no albino frogs were seen prior to the frog spawn appearing, their tadpoles are reportedly doing well although some have started to turn a little darker, said Froglife.

This is certainly one of the stranger enquiries we've had recently
Lucy Benyon, Froglife

Albino individuals of adult frogs, toads and newts are considered to be very rare and cases of multiple albinistic individuals in a breeding population are even rarer.

The sighting was reported to Froglife's wildlife information service - a public advice service encouraging people to get involved with amphibian and reptile conservation.

"This is certainly one of the stranger enquiries we've had recently," said Lucy Benyon, Froglife's wildlife information officer.

"What's unusual about this is that the batches of white tadpoles suggest that a number of adults that carry genes for albinism possibly exist in the area, not just one."

"Usually though albino amphibians fail to live to a breeding age - their white colouration makes them a blindingly conspicuous beacon for the various animals that depend on frogs for food." she added.

The tadpoles take around three or four months to turn into frogs and this batch could leave the pond as frogs in June or July.

"We haven't done any testing yet. We're just monitoring what's going on in the pond," added Ms Benyon.




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