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Definition of TADPOLE
: a larval amphibian; specifically: a frog or toad larva that has a rounded body with a long tail bordered by fins and external gills soon replaced by internal gills and that undergoes a metamorphosis to the adult
Aquatic larval stage of frogs and toads. Tadpoles have a short, oval body, broad tail, small mouth, and no external gills. Most are herbivorous, but those of some species are predatory or even cannibalistic. Tadpole metamorphosis follows a pattern of gradual development of forelimbs and hind limbs, resorption of the tail, shortening of the intestine, disappearance of the gills, and development of the lungs. On completion of metamorphosis, the young frog or toad emerges onto land.