Fri

02

Aug

2013

Life On Distant Hill Blog ... Eastern Red-Spotted Newt

Three Stages of Life

The red eft stage of the Eastern Red-spotted Newt.
The red eft stage of the Eastern Red-spotted Newt.

The eastern red-spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) is a common newt of eastern North America. It is also known as a red eft, a red-spotted newt, or an eastern newt. 

 

Eastern red-spotted newts have a very interesting life cycle. They have three very different and distint stages of life:

The larva possesses gills and are brownish-green in color. Born in the spring, they shed their gills in late summer and they transform into the red eft.

 

As an eft they develop spots on their backs. They can have as many as 21 of these spots, with the pattern differing among the subspecies.

 

After two or three years, the eft transforms into the aquatic adult. The skin on its back of the adult reverts to the brownish-green of the tadpole and it develops a yellow belly. It develops a larger and wider tail than the eft stage to aid it in swimming. Adults may be active all winter on pond bottoms or in streams. 

 
A young adult Eastern Red-spotted Newt
A young adult Eastern Red-spotted Newt

After two or three years, the eft transforms into the aquatic adult. The skin on its back of the adult reverts to the brownish-green of the tadpole and it develops a yellow belly. It develops a larger and wider tail than the eft stage to aid it in swimming. Adults may be active all winter on pond bottoms or in streams.