New Kid in Town!

Eastern Newt (a.k.a Red-spotted Newt)
(Notophthalmus viridescens)

This non-native salamander has recently been found in Whatcom County in a couple different locations. Additionally we have found larval forms providing proof they are breeding here.

Let us introduce you to this new kid in town. The Eastern Newt is a native to the eastern United States. They can be very abundant and are important component in the forested ecosystems there. However, they are not a natural part of the Northwest Ecosystem and we do not know what affect they could have.

Here are some factoids about these critters:

  • Larvae live in water and use gills to breathe. However, juveniles (also known as “efts”), become land dwellers and develop lungs to breathe air. The adults also breathe air, but become aquatic once again.
  • The newts are orange with small red dots in the eft stage. This is the stage they can disperse overland and move great distances to establish in new areas.
  • 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.
  • Newts help reduce mosquito populations by feeding on their larvae
  • They can live 12 to 15 years, which means they can persist in the landscape a long time- and make many new newts during that lifespan.

Where will you find them:

Eft stage: moist forest floors and among leaf litter.
Adult stage: 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 can your find them:
Eft: late summer to autumn, usually at night and after or during rains, but also during the day if the ground is moist.
Adult: from spring through fall and sometimes in the winter, feeding under ice.

What to do if you find one?

Contact us at vikki@whatfrogs.org . We also request you collect any found. Place them in a jar with ventilation and contact us immediately and we will come and collect them.

Thanks for being the “eyes” out there keeping our ecosystems safe.

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