Red-spotted Newt
Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens

Common Name:

Red-spotted Newt

Scientific Name:

Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens

Etymology:

Genus:

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

Species:

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

Subspecies:

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

Photos:

*Click on a thumbnail for a larger version.


Verified County/City Occurrence

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Verified in 103 Counties/Cities.



FROGS

Virginia is home to 28 species of frogs and toads.

SALAMANDERS

We have a large diversity of salamanders consisting of 56 different species and subspecies.

LIZARDS

Virginia is home to 9 native lizard species and two introduced species, the Mediterranean Gecko and the Italian Wall Lizard.

SNAKES

The Commonwealth is home to 34 species and subspecies of snake. Only 3 species are venomous.

TURTLES

Virginia has 25 species and subspecies of turtle. Five of these species are sea turtle.