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Eastern (Red-Spotted) Newt

juvenile eastern newt
Juvenile Eastern (Red-Spotted) Newt
(Notophthalmus viridescens)
~Photo courtesy of Melody Wolcott

Did You Know?

  • The eastern (red-spotted) newt is a widespread and native salamander of New York State and eastern North America that can live for 12-15 years!
  • Adults and larvae use gills to breathe and live in water; however, juveniles (also known as "efts"), become land dwellers and develop lungs to breathe air.
  • The eastern (red-spotted) newt secretes poisonous toxins, and the eft's bright coloration serves as a warning to predators.
  • Eastern newts use specialized chemicals to find food and attract mates.
  • They help reduce mosquito populations by feeding on their larvae.
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What to Watch for:

Size:

Larvae: ¼ inch - 1 inch
Eft: 1-3 inches
Adult: 3-5 inches

Appearance:

Larvae: Olive-colored skin and feathery gills.

Eft (juvenile): Bright orange-red coloration with small black dots scattered on the back and a row of larger, black-bordered orange spots on each side of the back (the larger spots resemble an eye, which is the meaning of their scientific name "Notophthalamus"). The skin is rough and dry compared to the moist and smooth skin of adults and larvae.

adult eastern newt
Adult Eastern (Red-Spotted) Newt
~Photo courtesy of Natalie Sacco

Adult (newt): Overall greenish coloration with small black dots scattered on the back and a row of several black-bordered reddish-orange spots on each side of the back. Males have black, rough patches on the inside of their thighs and on the bottom tip of their hind toes during the breeding season.

Other Signs to Look for:

Egg clusters of 200-400 attached to submerged aquatic vegetation or fallen leaves in the water.

Where to watch:

Eft: moist forest floors and among leaf litter
Adult: small bodies of fresh water such as ponds, lakes, marshes, and relatively slow-moving waters with a muddy substrate. They are commonly found in beaver ponds and man-made water bodies.

When to Watch:

Eft: late summer to autumn, usually at night, but also during the day if the ground is moist.
Adult: from spring through fall and sometimes in the winter, feeding under ice.

Best Places to See Eastern Newts in New York:

More information about Eastern Newts:

Red-spotted Newt Distribution Map