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In September 1976 the remains of Hurricane Kathleen swept over the Californian parts of the Sonoran Desert with torrential rains. All the washes in the region flooded, and temporary ponds were left in scoured-out depressions. This pond contained thousands of spadefoot toad tadpoles. These are typical moist-skinned toads that they can survive only on damp ground; they may be on the surface as little as one night a year. What do they do the rest of the time?

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