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Checklist of Amphibian Species and Identification Guide

Eastern Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens


Red Eft
The Eastern Newt (and its close relative the Striped Newt, N. perstriatus) are unique in that they undergo two metamorphoses. The first is the usual transformation from aquatic, gilled larva to an air-breathing terrestrial form. However in these two species there is a second, less striking metamorphosis to a breeding aquatic adult. The sexually immature land phase is usually called an Eft above and below right) while the aquatic adults are called Newts (below left). The Eastern Newt is divided into four subspecies. The photos shown here are all of the Red-spotted Newt, N. v. viridescens. Adults reach lengths of nearly 5 inches, while Efts usually reach only about 3 inches. The Red-Spotted Newt gets its name from the many red spots that occur on its dorsal surface against the background color of brown to olive green in adults.
Red-spotted Newt red eft
The Eft stage may last anywhere from 1-7 years. Sometimes the eft stage is skipped completely and they go directly from the larval to the adult aquatic stage. This is particularly common in the southern subspecies, the Central Newt, N. v. louisianensis, and the Peninsula Newt, N. v. piaropicola, and in populations that live in xeric (dry) environments such as the pine barrens and sand hills found in the eastern coastal plain. The skin of the Eft is toxic and their bright coloration serves as a warning - it is not so rare to find an Eft wandering about in broad daylight after rain. When Efts transform into adults the red background color changes to olive green or brown, but the red spots remain. They also develop a more compressed tail that helps them swim in the aquatic environment into which they move. There are three other subspecies of the Eastern Newt found east of the Great Plains from the southern reaches of central Canada south to Florida and the east coast: the Broken-striped Newt, N. v. dorsalis, the Central Newt, N. v. louisianensis, and the Peninsula Newt, N. v. piaropicola.
Eastern Newt Range

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