Eastern Red-Spotted Newt

ANIMAL:
Eastern Red-Spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens

Type of Animal:
Salamander

Habitat:
Adults/larvae-streams, ponds, marshes, lakes, ditches w/ mud bottoms, drainage ditches, beaver ponds, muddy areas, slow meandering rivers, lake margins, reservoir margins, pasture ponds, mill ponds, bogs, vernal pools, wooded swamps, slow-moving waters w/ muddy substrate, manmade bodies of water. Terrestrial efts (juveniles)-damp/moist forest/woodland, deciduous forest/woodland, coniferous forest/woodland, leaf litter, lakeshores, pastures, meadows

Location(s):
SE Canada & E US

Appearance:
Adults have greenish smooth skin w/ small black dots scattered on back & row of several black-bordered reddish-orange spots on each side of back, adult males have black rough patches on inside of thighs & bottom tips of hind toes during breeding season, efts (juveniles) bright red to bright orange w/ small black dots scattered on back & row of larger black-bordered orange spots on each side of back & have rough dry skin, larvae/tadpoles olive w/ faint spots, reddish-brown tail, & feathery external gills

Food/Diet:
Insects, insect larvae, leeches, crustaceans, mollusks, small amphibians, fish, spiders, mites, worms, aquatic microinvertebrates, fish eggs, amphibian eggs, zooplankton

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Breeding in aquariums, zoos, & herpetoculture

Lifestyle:
Groups of 20-40

Additional Info:

Called:
Male
Female
Young: Eft/Tadpole
Group: Congress/Band

Weight:
Male: 0.2 oz
Female: 0.4 oz
Eft: 0.1 oz

Gestation:
2-5 weeks 

Life Span:
12-15 years

Body Length:
Male: 3 in
Female: 4.5-5 in
Tadpole: 0.5 in
Eft: 2 in

Tail Length:
Male: 2-2.56 in
Female: 2.52-2.95 in
Tadpole: 1.1 in
Eft: 1.85 in

Main predators are birds, omnivorous/carnivorous mammals, fish, other amphibians, & garter snakes/ribbon snakes.
 
In spring, females lay 200-400 eggs. Eggs hatch in 2-5 weeks, living as aquatic larvae for 2-5 months. After 3 months, larvae shed gills & move onto land living as red efts (terrestrial juvenile stage)-efts metamorphose into mature aquatic adults at 2-3 years old. Some populations remain in eft stage permanently, only entering water to breed. Neoteny (gilled individuals reaching sexual maturity) has also been documented. Some populations skip eft stage.
 
Courtship involves males wiggling/moving tails as well as emitting pheromones.
 
Sometimes kept as pets.
 
Mating balls sometimes observed w/ multiple males fighting over/mating w/ single female.

Fun Fact(s):
Adults & efts have poisonous skin but skin of red efts more poisonous w/ bright coloration serving as warning. Toxin is a sodium channel blocking tetrodotoxin.
 
If water sources dry up, aquatic newts can revert to being land-based adult efts as survival strategy.

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