Notophthalmus viridescens

Common Names: Eastern Newt, Red Eft, Eastern Red-spotted Newt
Category: Amphibians
Sub-category: Salamanders

A common salamander of eastern North America. They are capable of sensing direction by magnetic and solar orientation, which they use to find their way home.

Eastern newts have three stages of life: the aquatic larva, the red eft stage, and the aquatic adult. The larva possesses gills and does not leave the pond environment where it was hatched. Larvae are brown-green in color, and shed their gills when they transform into the red eft. The red eft is bright orangish-red in color, with darker red spots outlined in black. An eastern newt can have as many as 21 of these spots. The pattern of these spots differs among the subspecies. During this stage, the eft may travel far, acting as a dispersal stage from one pond to another, ensuring outcrossing in the population. After two or three years, the eft finds a pond and transforms into the aquatic adult. The adult's skin is olive green, but retains the eft's characteristic outlined red spots. It has a larger and wider tail and characteristically slimy skin.

Eastern newts dwell in wet forests with small lakes or ponds.

Edible Notes: Not known to be edible.
Warnings: Eastern Newts secret a toxin from their skin and shouldn't be handled. Amphibians, like reptiles, can carry Salmonella, which is a potentially deadly bacteria. It is safer for you (and the amphibian) to not touch them or anything in the area where they live, but if you do: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water immediately after touching. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.