Newts!

Notophthalmus viridescensOne of several Eastern Newts (Notophthalmus viridescens) in the high reservoir at Black Rock Forest recently. The red-spots are telling here, identifying the animal (another common name is Red-spotted Newt) and warning predators to lay off. This is the mature, aquatic stage of the animal’s life-cycle. They can live more than a dozen years. As juveniles, a.k.a. Red Efts, they are bright orange and live on land. Wet, soggy land.Notophthalmus viridescensThe vertically flattened tail is fin-like.

It’s hard to shoot life underwater without the proper filter, even in shallow water. But I did manage to catch these two:Notophthalmus viridescensThis is a pair in amplexus, a term of amphibian art.Notophthalmus viridescensAmplexus is from the Lain for “embrace.” They fertilize externally, but this grasping and caressing by the male is something akin to human foreplay.

I had no idea some people keep these as pets. I don’t think wild animals should be taken from their environment for such uses. One pet guide recommends not handling them much because the salts and oils on human skin can be bad for them. Indeed. How about just leaving them alone?

3 Responses to “Newts!”


  1. 1 The Nothing Expert May 1, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Haven’t seen one of these for many years. When i was a kid, we found what we called salamanders “outside the woods on a dirt road after a rainstorm”. Am I correct now, when I say they are properly called “red efts” and they are the terrestrial form of these newts?

  2. 3 Xavier October 19, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Um, we suggest pets only Captive bred, we don’t like catching things from the wild, not only could it have problems for the native population (Less mates) but they could be housing parasites that captive bred ones don’t have. Us in the hobby just like getting captive bred animals, instead of sick, wild caught ones. Go to Caudata.org


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