Other Amphibian of the Week

Eastern Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens)

Redspotted_newt.jpg
photo by Brian Gratwicke

leastconcern
Common Name: Eastern Newt
Scientific Name: Notophthalmus viridescens
Family: Salamandridae
Location: United States and Canada
Maximum Size: 5.5 inches

The Eastern Newt is found in the Eastern half of the United States and Southeastern Canada. There are four different subspecies of Eastern Newt. They are the Red-spotted Newt (N. v. viridescens), Broken-striped Newt (N. v. dorsalis), Central Newt (N. v. louisianensis),  and Peninsula Newt (N. v. piaropicola). The differences between the subspecies have to do with the spots on the newt. Red-spotted Newt is the one in the picture above. They have large-red spots that run down it’s body. The Broken-striped Newt’s red spots are fused together to form dashes that run down it’s body. The Central Newt’s have smaller red spots and very little. The Peninsula Newt doesn’t have any red spots, just a ton of black spots. It’s also only found in the Florida Panhandle.

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The Eastern Newt has four different life stages. It starts off as an egg in a pond and shortly hatches to be an aquatic larva. This is where it get’s interesting. The larva can undergo metamorphosis to become either a terrestrial Red Eft or an adult aquatic newt. The terrestrial Red Eft stage lasts for two or three years. This is the best chance to find a newt if you look under logs. They make their to a pond then they change into an aquatic adult. At this stage in life, they can reproduce.

The Eastern Newt contains a few toxins such as tetrodotoxin. Their color is used to warn predators about eating them. I would not eat them if you find one.

 

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