Caudata Notophthalmus viridescens -- Eastern Newt
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Purple shade indicates vouchered specimens. Light blue (cyan)
shade indicates photographic records. Yellow shade indicates verified
sighting. Slanted hatch indicates pre-1980 records only
NOTE: Not all specimens upon which these maps are based have been verified.
Key Characters: No costal grooves or distinct gular fold; raised crests between eyes.
Similar Species: Recently transformed Ambystoma.
Subspecies: Central newt, N. v. louisianensis.
Description: Small (up to 11 cm TL), olive green to yellowish brown (reddish brown in efts) salamander, with small scattered black dots. Black-dotted yellow belly contrasts sharply with sides. Aquatic adult has tail fin. Breeding male has large hind legs with black ridges on thighs, black toe tips, and conspicuous pits behind eyes. Eft lacks tail fin, has more warty skin, and yellowish or reddish belly.
Habitat: Semi-permanent ponds and sloughs in or near forests.
Natural History: This salamander has an unusual three-part life history. Adults and larvae are aquatic, but there is an intermediate terrestrial stage called the eft. During spring, adult females attach tiny, pale eggs individually to underwater plants. Best breeding ponds are fish-free, but extensively vegetated borders of stocked lakes are satisfactory. Aquatic larvae transform mid- to late summer into efts, which, after living on land for 1-3 years around bark, logs, rocks, and damp leaves, mature and return to breeding pond. Efts often walk about during the day after rain. In some permanent fish-free ponds, larvae develop into gilled, otherwise-transformed adults. Outside breeding season, adults may remain in pond or wander on land nearby.
Status: Common in some southern counties where swamps and breeding ponds persist and wooded habitat for efts remains. Reduced in central and northern Illinois by deforestation and drainage of ponds and marshes.