A female red-eyed tree frog has laid a batch of eggs on a leaf. She chose the spot carefully—the leaf hangs over a pond. When the eggs are ready to hatch, the tadpoles inside start swirling around vigorously. The activity breaks each egg open, releasing the little tadpoles. All the tadpoles wash down the leaf in a little stream of moisture from the hatching eggs, and—plop! plop! plop!—they land in the pond below.
Feeding on tiny insects, the tadpoles live in the water they fell into until they metamorphose, or develop, into little brown froglets. At this point they leave the water and climb up nearby trees to live as tree frogs.
By the time they're adults, the frogs have turned a striking green, with blue-and-yellow striped sides, orange or red feet, a flash of blue on their thighs, and big red eyes. The bright colors are a defense mechanism.
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