Red-spotted Newt
Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens

Common Name:

Red-spotted Newt

Scientific Name:

Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens



noto is Greek for "mark", ophtalmus is Greek for "eye". Referring to eye spots found on the back and sides.


viridescens is Latin meaning "slightly green". Referring to the overall greenish color of the salamander.


viridescens is Latin meaning "slightly green". Referring to the overall greenish color of the salamander.

Average Length:

2.25 - 4.8 in. (5.7 - 12.2 cm)

Virginia Record Length:

Record length:

5.5 in. (14 cm)

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: There are four distinct life stages: 1) egg, 2) aquatic larvae, 2) terrestrial adult (red eft), 3) aquatic adult (newt) *1102,3640, 1008,1009,2130*. The aquatic adult has an olive green to yellow brown dorsum, and pale to yellow belly covered with black dots *1102,3640,1008,3641,882,941,3639,1009,2130*. There are 2 dorsolateral rows of black bordered red spots *2130,3640,1008,3641,941,3639,1009*. It has a laterally flattened tail *1008* and 3 pits on the side of the head *1009*. There is no nasolabial groove *1102* and no costal grooves *1102,1008*. The smooth skin secretes a noxious substance when injured *1102,1009*. They are less than 5 inches in length *1102,1008,3641,882,2130*. The red eft is brick red to orange red in color, with many black dots, and a dorsolateral row of black edged red spots *3640,1008,3641,882,1009*. It has rough skin *1102,1008,1009*, and is 1.5-3.5 inches in length *3640,1008,3641,882*. It has a round tail *1008*, and stays in the red eft stage from 1-3 years. In some areas it metamorphoses directly into the aquatic adult form *1102,3640,1008*. The tadpole is brown green *3640,1009*.

REPRODUCTION: During the winter the male, aquatic newt undergoes morphological changes in preparation to mate. A broad fin develops on the tail, his vent protudes, and black horny growths develop on the inner thighs and tips of the toes *1102,1008,1009,3641*. Mating occurs in the spring with the female picking up the the spermatophore deposited by the male *1102,3641,1009*; the male stimulates the female by stroking her with his chin and cheeks *1008,3641*. The female lays 200-375 eggs, singly, attaching them to vegetation *1102,1008,3638,1009,941*. Hatching occurs in 3-5 weeks *1009,3638,941,1008,1102*. The larva hatch at 7.5 mm in length, and are light green in color *3640,1009*. Metamorphosis occurs in approximately 3 months *1009,941,3641,1008,3640,1102*. There is no parental protection of the young or eggs *3638*. The larva usually metamorphose into the eft stage *3640,1008,1102,3641,1009*. It remains an eft for 1-3 years *3640,1008*.

BEHAVIOR: It is active throughout the year *1102,882*.

ORIGIN: This species is native *2130,882*. This salamander has one of the most complex and variable life cycles of any North American salamander *11305*.

References for Life History

  • 882 - Conant, R., 1958, A field guide to reptiles and amphibians of the United States and Canada east of the 100th Meridian, 366 pgs., Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA
  • 941 - Leviton, A., 1970, Reptiles and Amphibians of North America, 250 pgs., Doubleday and Co., New York
  • 1008 - Barbour, R.W., 1971, Amphibians and reptiles of Kentucky, 334 pgs., Univ. of Kentucky Press, Lexington, KY
  • 1009 - Bishop, S.C., 1943, Handbook of Salamanders, 555 pgs., Comstock Publ. Co., New York, NY
  • 1102 - Cochran, D.M., C.J. Goin, 1970, The new field book of reptiles and amphibians, 359 pgs., G.P. Putman's Sons, NY
  • 2130 - Blair, W.F., A.P. Blair, P. Brodkorb, F.R. Cagle, G.W. Moore, 1957, Vertebrates of the United States, 819 pgs., McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., NY
  • 3638 - Oliver, J.A., 3 (Ed.), The natural history of North American amphibians and reptiles, 359 pgs., D. Van Nostrand Co., Inc.
  • 3639 - Smith, H.M., 1978, Amphibians of North America, 160 pgs., Golden Press, New York
  • 3640 - Morris, P.A., 1974, An introduction to the Reptiles and Amphibians of the United States., 250 pgs., Dover Publications, Inc., New York
  • 3641 - Bishop, S.C., 1927, The Amphibians and Reptiles of Alleghany State Park, New York State Museum Handbook No. 3, University of the State of New York, Albany, NY


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