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Juvenile Eastern Newts Leaving Ponds

eastern newt baby 137Eastern newts, those four-inch long, red-spotted, olive-green, aquatic salamanders that inhabit most ponds, breed throughout the summer and well into the fall. Their eggs hatch in three to five weeks and the aquatic larvae are equipped with gills with which they breathe for the next three months or so. By late summer and early autumn the inch-and-a-half-long larvae begin to reabsorb their gills and develop lungs and a rough-textured skin. These tiny, young salamanders start to emerge from ponds and live on land, gradually turning reddish-orange. We refer to the juvenile eastern newt salamander during its terrestrial stage as a red eft. After spending two to five years on land, red efts return to the water, regain their green coloration and live the rest of their life as aquatic eastern newts. (Photo: A juvenile eastern newt that just emerged from a pond and has yet to attain the reddish-orange color of a red eft, on a quarter for scale. The darker patch on its neck just before its foreleg is where gills were once located.)

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5 responses

  1. Margo Nutt

    How did you get him (or her) to stand on a quarter long enough to take a photo?! You are amazing.

    September 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm

  2. Betsy janeway

    Yes, Margo Nutt…you just asked the same question I was about to ask. Obviously she glued the newt to the quarter, using a dissolvable flour-paste glue! (I’m kidding, Mary Holland) Betsy Janeway

    September 25, 2014 at 1:44 pm

  3. So adorable:)

    September 25, 2014 at 2:47 pm

  4. dellwvt

    What great information! I’ve wondered how the red efts fit into the salamander scheme, but I hadn’t known about the latter transformation they undergo, returning to aquatic life. So the eft stage is still immature – not yet reproducing? That ‘s why they’re so cute!
    That is a wonderfully clever photo, Mary! – Dell

    September 25, 2014 at 6:57 pm

  5. Transformations are one of nature’s most amazing magical tricks!

    September 25, 2014 at 8:50 pm

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