Recognized Subspecies in VA: Red-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens)
Size: 2.5 - 5 inches
Status: Least Concern
This common salamander can be found in ponds, vernal pools, swamps, and marshes across the state as adults. What makes this species so unique is its life cycle. This salamander hatches into an aquatic larvae, and stays in the water for only a few months, before leaving as a unique juvenile called an "eft". Efts live on land for three to five years, before they return to the water to become aquatic adults. Efts can be found by road cruising on wet nights, and flipping logs and rocks. Adults, as well as larva, can be dip netted. All stages of the species are toxic, with the efts being quite toxic.
The local subspecies of the Eastern Newt is the Red-spotted Newt. This subspecies is defined by its two or three rows of red spots down the dorsal. Adults are green, with yellow bellies with clean, black dots. Efts are orange, with lighter orange bellies. This species has a very flat, paddle-like tail to aid with swimming.
Similar Species: This species is quite unique, though efts are sometimes mistaken for Red Salamanders or Mud Salamanders, which lack the red spots and are much smoother.
Maps and External Sources
Herping Virginia encourages all naturalists to practice ethical, safe, and sustainable herping. The use of proper herping methods and techniques is beneficial to both wildlife and herpers. Visit the links below for more information.