Friday, September 30, 2011

Eastern Newt

Notophthalmus viridescens
Eastern Newts can be found in the Eastern United States, where they have a range that spans all the way from southern Canada down to Texas. They live in fresh bodies of water, typically near forest areas.

Eastern Newts go through some pretty interesting life phases. Adults will mate on land during the early spring, and the female will lay up to 400 eggs a season, one at a time,  in the water. The eggs are attached to aquatic plants, and will hatch in anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks, depending on the temperature.

Larval Newts look just like their adult selves, only much much smaller. They measure only about 7mm long! The larvae spend their summer eating as many little invertebrates as they can. When late summer comes around they metamorphose into their Juvenile or "Eft" form.

Eft Phase
Efts look different from the adults and larvae. For one, they completely lose their gills in favor of a set of lungs. They also have thinner, less powerful tails. Efts live on land for two to four years and feed on terrestrial invertebrates like snails and springtails. They hibernate under logs and rocks during the winter. Eventually they will grow large, flattened tails and return to the water as adults.

Thanks to those tails, adult Eastern Newts are very powerful swimmers. They remain in water for the rest of their lifetimes, and will feed on just about any invertebrate that they can catch. If they make it past the high mortality larval and eft phases, Eastern Newts can live up to 15 years!

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Eastern North America
Size : Length 5in (12.5cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Amphibia -- Order : Caudata
Family : Salamandridae -- Genus : Notophthalmus -- Species : N. viridescens

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