Every so often we see an Oregon spotted frog that makes us go…what?!?!

At the Oregon spotted frog breeding facility, we have seen leucistic (lacking pigmentation), melanistic (increased pigmentation), extra limbs and fused toes in the tadpoles we grow here. A certain amount of differences in formation are considered normal in amphibians, about 1-3%. Considering we produce around 20,000 tadpoles a year to restore this endangered species in the wild, it’s hardly a surprise to see some differences.

But this time, for the first time, we have seen a difference in a newly hatched tadpole! And I have to admit, I am kind of obsessed with this critter. Everyone, meet the affectionately named Blinky.

A rather fuzzy image of Blinky, the two-headed tadpole at WPC’s Oregon spotted frog breeding facility in BC.

Our Blinky has two heads! Yes they are named after the three eyed fish from the Simpsons, but that’s where the connection ends. Our Blinky isn’t the result of an unscrupulous nuclear plant manager with questionable hiring practices. Blinky is just a lovely little creature we are going to watch and see how they develop. So far they are mobile and are eating out of at least one of their mouths – you can see the piece of food in the photo.

Time will tell how Blinky will do, and regardless they won’t be a candidate for release. But they will have a home in our program.

Andrea Gielens

Lead Biologist – Fraser Valley Wetlands Recovery Program

Andrea manages WPC’s captive breeding and release programs for the Oregon spotted frog and the coastal western painted turtle. Andrea has studied at-risk reptiles and amphibians in Canada and abroad, including a term at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey. Andrea also manages the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly recovery program in BC.