Notophthalmus viridescens - (Rafinesque, 1820)
Eastern Newt
Other English Common Names: eastern newt
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Notophthalmus viridescens (Rafinesque, 1820) (TSN 173615)
French Common Names: triton vert
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106122
Element Code: AAAAF01030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Salamanders
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Caudata Salamandridae Notophthalmus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Frost, D. R. 1985. Amphibian species of the world. A taxonomic and geographical reference. Allen Press, Inc., and The Association of Systematics Collections, Lawrence, Kansas. v + 732 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B85FRO01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Notophthalmus viridescens
Taxonomic Comments: Gabor and Nice (2004) analyzed 18 allozyme loci to examine the evolutionary relationships among the four subspecies of eastern newts: viridescens, dorsalis, louisianensis, and piaropicola. "Despite moderate amounts of genetic variation, phylogenetic and phenetic analyses of the relationships among 12 sites resulted in trees that were inconsistent with the current subspecific classification. Cluster and phylogenetic analyses of allele frequency variation confirmed this, indicating an absence of significant differentiation among subspecies. Instead, populations appear to cluster into groups representing geographic units that do not directly correspond to the currently recognized subspecies. The morphological and life history differences among the subspecies are not clearly associated with differentiation at allozyme loci. Recent divergence, gene flow, or phenotypic plasticity may explain the lack of correlation between genetic and morphological differentiation."

See Reilly (1990) for information on phylogenetic relationships of the 3 species of Notophthalmus.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 05Jun2015
Global Status Last Changed: 30Oct2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large range in eastern North America and adjacent southern Canada; abundant; many secure populations.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (02Aug2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5), Arkansas (S5), Connecticut (S5), Delaware (S4), District of Columbia (S3), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S3S4), Indiana (SNR), Iowa (S2), Kansas (S2), Kentucky (S5), Louisiana (S5), Maine (S5), Maryland (S5), Massachusetts (S5), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (S4), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (S5), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (SNR), New York (S5), North Carolina (S5), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S3), Pennsylvania (S5), Rhode Island (S5), South Carolina (SNR), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Vermont (S5), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5), Wisconsin (S4)
Canada New Brunswick (S5), Nova Scotia (S5), Ontario (S5), Prince Edward Island (S5), Quebec (S5)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Low) (10Jul2017)
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Eastern newts occur throughout the eastern United States and adjacent southern Canada; west to Minnesota, eastern Kansas, and eastern Texas (Petranka 1998).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Represented by many and/or large occurrences throughout most of the range.

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 1,000,000.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Roads negatively impact salamander abundance in roadside habitat and may serve as partial barriers to movement (deMaynadier and Hunter 2000). Introduced bluegill sunfish may cause declines in larval abundance (Smith et al. 1999). However, the species is unthreatened overall.

See Attum et al. (2002) for information on how collection for human use affects newt size and mass in harvested populations.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable to increase of <25%
Short-term Trend Comments: Could be increasing with increasing beaver populations (Petranka 1998).

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: May have increased as creation of farm ponds augmented available habitat (Petranka 1998).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Broad. Generalist or community with all key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Eastern newts occur throughout the eastern United States and adjacent southern Canada; west to Minnesota, eastern Kansas, and eastern Texas (Petranka 1998).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada NB, NS, ON, PE, QC

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at

Range Map Compilers: IUCN, Conservation International, NatureServe, and collaborators, 2004

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
IA Black Hawk (19013), Bremer (19017), Buchanan (19019), Chickasaw (19037), Clinton (19045), Henry (19087)*, Jefferson (19101)*, Lee (19111)*, Linn (19113), Louisa (19115)*, Muscatine (19139), Scott (19163), Van Buren (19177)*, Washington (19183)*, Winneshiek (19191)*
KS Bourbon (20011), Cherokee (20021), Crawford (20037), Linn (20107), Miami (20121)
OK Atoka (40005), Cherokee (40021), Latimer (40077), Le Flore (40079), McCurtain (40089), Muskogee (40101)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
07 Turkey (07060004)+*, Copperas-Duck (07080101)+*, Upper Wapsipinicon (07080102)+, Lower Wapsipinicon (07080103)+, Skunk (07080107)+*, Middle Cedar (07080205)+, Lower Cedar (07080206)+, Lower Iowa (07080209)+, Lower Des Moines (07100009)+*
10 Lower Marais Des Cygnes (10290102)+, Marmaton (10290104)+
11 Spring (11070207)+, Dirty-Greenleaf (11110102)+, Illinois (11110103)+, Poteau (11110105)+, Muddy Boggy (11140103)+, Kiamichi (11140105)+, Mountain Fork (11140108)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
General Description: Adult eastern newts have somewhat rough, not slimy, skin. The sides lack prominent vertical grooves. Coloration varies throughout the range; the upper side is often olive-green, brown, or yellowish brown, sometimes blackish, with small red spots in most of the range. Newts on the Coastal Plain of the Carolinas have a red, broken, black-bordered stripe along each side of the back, and a yellow or orange-yellow belly, generally with small black spots. Maximum total length is around 5.5 inches (14 cm). In breeding males the skin is less granular than in nonbreeding terrestrial adults; the tail fin is tall, the vent is swollen and bulbous, and the toe tips and inner thighs have blackish cornifications. The immature terrestrial stage (red eft) is bright orange or orange-red (dull yellowish brown or reddish brown if recently metamorphosed; dark brown if transforming into adult stage) and usually less than 3.5 inches (9 cm) long. Large larvae have large gills and a dark stripe extending from the snout through each eye. Eggs are about 1.5 mm in diameter and are deposited singly.
Reproduction Comments: The timing of migrations and breeding vary throughout the range, depending on local conditions. In the water, males find females engage in courtship (may occur in spring or in both spring and fall). Courtship may or may not involve grasping and holding the female. Breeding males eventually deposit spermatophores on the pond bottom. Females pick up sperm from one or more spermatophores and later deposit up to a few hundred eggs, which are attached singly to submerged vegetation, generally in late winter or early spring, sometimes in summer or fall. Larvae hatch usually within about 2-5 weeks and metamorphose to the aquatic subadult or terrestrial eft stage about 2-3 months later, generally in late summer or early fall in most areas. Efts live on land for up to several years before returning to water and beginning to breed. In some areas, the terrestrial eft stage is omitted. Breeding by gilled, mature adults occurs in some areas.
Ecology Comments: Efts moved over an area averaging 270 square meters in Massachusetts. Apparently moves randomly in shallows of ponds. Larval abundance peaked at over 20/sq m in late spring in a North Carolina pond (Harris et al. 1988).

Eastern newts produce highly toxic skin secretions. The red eft stage is particularly toxic. Unlike most salamanders, efts commonly walk in the open during daytime; if attacked, they curl the body and display their bright colors. Although efts and adults are sometimes eaten by bullfrogs, garter snakes, turtles, and some other animals, many predators find them unpalatable and quickly learn to avoid them.

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: In some localities, adults migrate annually between terrestrial nonbreeding habitats and breeding ponds. The timing of migrations varies throughout the range, depending on local conditions. Overland movements often are most intense during rainy weather. Mass migrations were observed in February in West Virginia (Green and Pauley 1987); the bulk of migration occurred in late March-late April and late summer in Virginia. Adults tend to be philopatric to their native ponds and site tenacious within ponds (J. Herpetol. 27:149).
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Low gradient, Pool, SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian, SCRUB-SHRUB WETLAND
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic, Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Adults and larvae inhabit lakes, ponds, swamps, and quiet stream pools, especially those lacking predaceous fishes. Efts and sometimes adults (for example, overwintering ones) inhabit wooded areas (terrestrial eft stage lasts 2-7 years). In some areas, such as the northeastern United States, adults may be permanently aquatic, but in other areas they may leave the water in summer or fall.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Adults and larvae feed opportunistically on small aquatic animals, including amphibian eggs. Terrestrial efts eat small invertebrates; specialize on snails in some areas.
Adult Phenology: Circadian, Hibernates/aestivates
Immature Phenology: Circadian, Hibernates/aestivates
Phenology Comments: Terrestrial stage hibernates in winter, especially in north. Aquatic stages may be active all year, even under ice; may ingest and slowly digest food in winter (Jiang and Claussen, 1993, J. Herpetol. 27:414-419). Migrations correspond with nights of heavy rainfall.
Length: 14 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Salamandrids (Newts)

Use Class: Not applicable
Subtype(s): Breeding Pond
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including larvae or eggs) in or near appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Mapping Guidance: Occurrences should include aquatic/wetland habitat and known occupied upland habitat (if any), but occurrences based on observations/captures of individuals in aquatic/wetland habitat should include only the known distribution of the population and not include large areas of upland habitat (not known to be occupied) that may extend between occupied aquatic/wetland habitat within the appropriate separation distances.
Separation Barriers: Heavily traveled road, especially with high traffic volume at night; urban area dominated by buildings and pavement.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 1 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Although newts may cross roads successfully during breeding migrations, though often with high mortality, it is likely that broad, high-speed transportation corridors such as interstate highways normally serve as functional barriers.

Both Ashton (1998) and Johnson (2001) reported that striped newts (N. perstriatus) may cross highly disturbed land, such as the cleared and bedded soils of some silvicultural site preparations, although they did not note that such sites could sustain the species. Similarly, other newt species readily traverse large areas of disturbed upland and wetland habitat.

Although population genetic data are unavailable to document the existence or importance of interdemic migration for N. perstriatus (potentially important to the reestablishment of locally extirpated populations), individuals may move more than 800 meters from breeding ponds to terrestrial home ranges (Dodd 1993, Johnson 1998, Dodd and Cade 1998). Sixteen percent of individuals in a large population studied by Johnson (2001) moved more than 500 meters into uplands. Red-bellied newts may travel a mile (1.6 km) or more between breeding sites and upland habitat (Twitty 1966). Further, there is strong likelihood that newts breeding in a proximate series of ponds function as a metapopulation (principal EO; Johnson 1998, 2001).

Given that newts exhibit good mobility and longevity, it seems unlikely that occupied locations separated by a gap of less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent occurrences over the long term.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .5 km
Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Jackson, D. R., and G. Hammerson. Separation distance by G. Hammerson.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 25Jan2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 25Jan2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

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