Eastern Newt

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Eastern Newt
Notophthalmus viridescens
Conservation Concerns

At a Glance

The eastern newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) is a common newt of eastern North America. It frequents small lakes, ponds, and streams or nearby wet forests. The eastern newt produces tetrodotoxin, which makes the species unpalatable to predatory fish and crayfish.[2] It has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years in the wild, and it may grow to 5 in (13 cm) in length. These animals are common aquarium pets, being either collected from the wild or sold commercially. The striking bright orange juvenile stage, which is land-dwelling, is known as a red eft. Some sources blend the general name of the species and that of the red-spotted newt subspecies into the eastern red-spotted newt (although there is no "western" one).

Range & Identification

Eastern newts are at home in both coniferous and deciduous forests. They need a moist environment with either a temporary or permanent body of water, and thrive best in a muddy environment. Eastern newts have a preference for certain types of habitats, with males preferring more open, aquatic habitats and females preferring more forested, terrestrial habitats. This preference may be related to the different roles that males and females play in the reproductive process, with males typically being more active in courtship and females spending more time on land preparing to lay eggs. They may travel far from their original location during the eft stage. Red efts may often be seen in a forest after a rainstorm. Adults prefer a muddy aquatic habitat, but will move to land during a dry spell. Eastern newts have some amount of toxins in their skin, which is brightly colored to act as a warning. Even then, only 2% of larvae make it to the eft stage. Some larvae have been found in the pitchers of the carnivorous plant Sarracenia purpurea.[9]

Conservation Concerns

Although eastern newts are widespread throughout North America, they, like many other species of amphibians, are increasingly threatened by several factors including habitat fragmentation, climate change, invasive species, over-exploitation, and emergent infectious diseases.[29] The biodiversity of amphibians across the United States is considered to be threatened due to the loss of wetlands and furthermore, their connectivity;[30][31] since the 1780s, more than 53% of wetlands in the United States have been lost.[32] For example, a study found the toxicity of coal-tar pavement on eastern newts sublethal, decreasing their righting ability and swimming speed.

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