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Eastern / Red-spotted Newt
(Notophthalmus viridescens)

Eastern/Red-spotted NewtNH Conservation Status: Not listed.


State Rank Status: Wide spread and secure.


Distribution: Throughout New Hampshire.


Description: Aquatic adults range in color from olive to brownish-green and have red spots on their back. The belly is yellow. During the immature terrestrial “red eft” stage, the body is completely bright orange or red.


Commonly Confused Species: The eft stage may be confused with the redback salamander.


Habitat: Adults are found in permanent water bodies including ponds, marshes, and shallow lakes. The terrestrial efts can be found out in the open on moist forest floors after rainfall. They also hide under logs, bark, stones, and leaf litter.


Life History: Up to 400 eggs are attached singly to submerged vegetation in ponds, lakes, or swamps. Larvae are aquatic. Juvenile red-efts spend 1-3 years on land before returning to the water. Adults may be active all winter on pond bottoms or in streams.


Conservation Threats: Habitat loss, water pollution.


Distribution map: View a map showing the towns where this species is reported to occur in NH PDF Document


Red-spotted Newt

Red efts, the terrestrial phase of the eastern newt, are commonly seen out in the open on moist woodland floors. The orange skin of the red-eft warns predators of its toxicity. ©NHFG / Victor Young photo

Red-spotted Newt

Eastern newts develop a fin (keel) on the top of the tail to aid in aquatic movement when they transition from juveniles on land to adults in water. Adult newts have numerous black spots on their belly and legs. ©NHFG/Victor Young photo

Red-spotted Newt

During the breeding season, the cloacal glands of male newts swell due to an increase in hormones and black hardened growths develop on their hind limbs and feet. ©Mike Marchand photo

Red-spotted Newt

Close-up of male adult newt cloaca and hind limbs. ©Mike Marchand photo

Red-spotted Newt

Red eft ©NHFG/Victor Young photo

Red-spotted Newt

Red eft ©Mike Marchand photo