It feels like Whatcom County has been in the forefront on non-native species recently between the Giant Asian Hornet, Green frogs and now, get ready for it, the Eastern Newt (a.k.a. Red-spotted Newt) (Notophthalmus viridescens). I have to say they are adorable and how can such a small, attractive animal be a problem? That is what has been said about many introduced species- until they become abundant and affect the local ecology. By the time they are causing problems it is very difficult to control them. At this point we don’t know if Eastern Newts are a problem, but we don’t want to find out. So far this species has been detected at two Whatcom County sites (about 2 miles from each other). We have found the immature eft stage that is the life stage that is terrestrial and moves around and we have found larvae (meaning we know it is reproducing here).
Eastern Newts are native to eastern parts of the United States. We assume our population was introduced by released pets. We are eager to figure out where they occur in the County and if they will need control. So far they have been located around Hemmi Road, Mission Road and Goshen Road. Fall is an excellent time to look for the eft stage (the terrestrial orange stage). They are hard to mistake being bright orange with small red dots. They will usually be found in forested areas under logs or other debris, but after warm rains may be found in more open areas and crossing roads.
What can you do? If you see any of these please pick it up and place it in a jar. Note where you found it and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can’t collect it please take a picture and tell us the location. Thank you for being out there and watching the world!