Main Characteristics: Eastern Newts are common North American newts. They are between 6.5 and 11.5 cms (2.5 - 4.5 inches) in length and they have a life expectancy of 12 - 15 years. They have a complex three stage life cycle; larvae, eft and aquatic adult; which is described in more detail in the breeding section below. As an adult they have an olive green coloured dorsal surface with black-edged red spots and a yellow underside. Their skin is rough, scale less, and moist and they have small eyes with horizontal pupils. Their tail has developed to be larger and wider to suit their aquatic lifestyle. During the eft and adult stages of their life they have highly toxic skin secretions that protect them from predators. Habitat: Eastern Newts are found in eastern Canada and eastern USA and they inhabit wet forests with small lakes or ponds. Diet: Eastern Newts feed upon insects, small mollusks, small crustaceans, frog spawn and young amphibians.
Breeding: Eastern newts breed from late winter until early spring and females lay 200 - 400 jelly covered eggs on submerged vegetation. After 3 - 8 weeks the eggs hatch producing aquatic larvae with gills and brown/green colouration. After 3 - 4 months the larvae lose their gills, develop sac-like lungs and emerge onto land as a red eft. The eft is bright red, orange or brown in colour with black-edged red spots along their back and rough skin. Their body is slender with a laterally flattened tail. 2 - 3 years later the red eft returns to the water to become an aquatic adult and begin breeding. As an adult they have olive green coloured skin but they retain the red eft's characteristic red spots. Subspecies:There are four subspecies of Eastern Newt: Red-Spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens) This is the most widespread subspecies and they have a row of small red spots outlined in black along each side.
Central Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens louisianensis) They are found along the western and southern edges of the species range and they typically lack red markings.
Peninsula Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens piaropicola) They are found in the Florida Panhandle. They have darker colouration, lack red spots and rarely leave the water. They typically skip the "red eft" stage of the life cycle and metamorphose directly into an aquatic adult.
Broken-Striped Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens dorsalis) They are found in North and South Carolina and they have red/orange markings that resemble broken stripes rather than circular spots.
|Latin Name||Notophthalmus viridescens|
|Conservation Status||Least Concern|
|Location||E Canada & E USA|
|Length||6.5 - 11.5 cm (2.5 - 4.5 inches)|