Animals in your pond

Although plants are beautiful and valuable in their own right, it is the animals that provide the greatest interest for many people. There could be dozens of species in a good large garden pond, although some will be too small to see without a microscope. Getting animals into your pond is easy - they find their own way, provided the water quality is good and the right plants are established. Frogs, toads and newts will discover your new pond quickly, usually within a season and even in most heavily urbanised areas. Insects fly in, and arrive within days. Other animals, like snails and small crustaceans find their way somehow. They travel on the feet of ducks or bathing birds, or arrive attached to introduced plants.

Animals play many roles in ponds. Freshwater shrimps eat organic debris and rotten vegetation. Water

Emperor dragonfly. Dave Sadler Great diving beetle. Roger Key/English Nature

fleas and others consume bacteria and tiny single-celled organisms living in the bottom sludge or as plankton in the open water.

Herbivores, including snails, mayflies, caddis-flies and some beetles, eat larger algae and plants. Other species are predators, eating other animals, and then themselves being eaten by bigger predators. Some live all their life in the pond, while others, like the dragonflies, stay there for several years as flightless larvae, before enjoying a brief period as flying hunting adults and then returning to the pond to lay their eggs.

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