Adults are 4 inches (10 cm) in total length and are generally greenish in color with small red spots on the dorsolateral surface of the body. The belly is yellow with black peppering. In breeding season, males have a pronounced dorsal crest on the tail. Adults are aquatic.
Eggs are laid singly on submerged vegetation after an elaborate underwater courtship “dance” where the male holds his tail above his body and waves it in the water. During this dance the male will often hold the female’s head with his hind legs and will even nuzzle her with his nose. Eggs hatch into aquatic larvae.
a larval state of generally a few months, metamorphosis occurs. The
resultant stage is the “eft” stage, which resembles the adults in many
ways but is orange or red in color. During this stage, which may last a
year or more, the animal is often found walking in the open in early
morning or after summer rains. The skin is warty.
Larvae of the red-spotted newt (bottom left) have pointed snouts and well-developed gills.
Adults are found in a variety of bodies of water, usually those that are permanent or semipermanent. The author has caught adults in large ponds, vernal pools, freshwater marshes and even in mud puddles in the middle of dirt roads. Active adults are sometimes seen under ice in the early spring and can dive quite deep.
Eats a variety of invertebrates. Adults also eat small fish and tadpoles.
Extensive range throughout the eastern United States with many subspecies, especially in the south. In Connecticut the species is known to occur throughout the state.
Conant, R. and J.T. Collins. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 450 pp.
Klemens, M.W. 1993. Amphibians and Reptiles of Connecticut and Adjacent Regions. Hartford, CT: State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut Bulletin 112. 318 pp.
Text by Gregory J. Watkins-Colwell.
Photographs © Twan Leenders. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Animals featured in photographs on this page are from Connecticut.