Taricha granulosa - (Skilton, 1849)
Rough-skinned Newt
Other English Common Names: Roughskin Newt, rough-skinned newt
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Taricha granulosa (Skilton, 1849) (TSN 173620)
French Common Names: triton rugueux
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100302
Element Code: AAAAF02010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Amphibians - Salamanders
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Amphibia Caudata Salamandridae Taricha
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: Taricha granulosa
Taxonomic Comments: Two subspecies are currently recognized: the northern rough-skinned newt, T. g. granulosa, is found throughout the range; Crater Lake rough-skinned newt, T. g. mazamae, is found in the vicinity of Crater Lake, Oregon.

A high frequency of breeding adults on Gravina Island near Ketchikan, Alaska, display morphological characters similar to the Crater Lake subspecies, T. g. mazamae. Genetic studies suggest that newts from Wrangell Island differ little from those in Washington State (MacDonald 2003).
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 15Jan2008
Global Status Last Changed: 03Dec2001
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large range in western North America; abundant; secure.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Nov1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4N5 (12Sep2011)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (S4), California (SNR), Idaho (SNA), Oregon (S5), Washington (S5)
Canada British Columbia (S4S5)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Candidate (Medium) (26Jan2015)
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range includes the Pacific coast of North America from southeastern Alaska to Santa Cruz County, California (Petranka 1998, Stebbins 2003). Records from the Rocky Mountains in Idaho and Montana, including populations in Latah County, Idaho, could represent introductions, though Monello and Wright (1997) recorded three small populations in Latah County, Idaho, in 1997. Elevational range extends from sea level to about 9,200 feet (Stebbins 2003).

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

Population Size: 100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but surely exceeds 100,000.

Viability/Integrity Comments: Likely many occurrences have good viability.

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: This species may be detrimentally impacted by deforestation of areas surrounding breeding sites, though the degree of impact is difficult to quantify. Exposure to UV-B may alter certain behaviors that could have ecological and evolutionary consequences (Blaustein et al. 2000).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Likely stable in extent of occurrence and probably stable to slightly declining in population size, area of occupancy, and number/condition of occurrences.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Likely relatively stable in extent of occurrence, probably less than 25% decline in population size, area of occurrence, and number/condition of occurrences.

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: (200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)) Range includes the Pacific coast of North America from southeastern Alaska to Santa Cruz County, California (Petranka 1998, Stebbins 2003). Records from the Rocky Mountains in Idaho and Montana, including populations in Latah County, Idaho, could represent introductions, though Monello and Wright (1997) recorded three small populations in Latah County, Idaho, in 1997. Elevational range extends from sea level to about 9,200 feet (Stebbins 2003).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CA, IDexotic, OR, WA
Canada BC

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 www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

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

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AK Juneau (02110), Ketchikan Gateway (02130), Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan (CA) (02201), Sitka (02220), Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon (CA) (02232), Wrangell-Petersburg (CA) (02280)
OR Klamath (41035)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 North Umpqua (17100301)+, Upper Rogue (17100307)+
18 Williamson (18010201)+, Upper Klamath Lake (18010203)+
19 Southeast Mainland (19010101)+, Ketchikan (19010102)+, Prince of Wales (19010103)+, Mainland (19010201)+, Kuiu-Kupreanof-Mitkof-Etolin-Zarembo-Wrangell Isla (19010202)+, Baranof-Chichagof Islands (19010203)+, Admiralty Island (19010204)+, Lynn Canal (19010301)+, Glacier Bay (19010302)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
Basic Description: A newt.
General Description: Rough skin (except breeding males); upper side usually dark to light brown (with dark blotches in a few parts of the species range), under side usually yellow to reddish orange; usually dark pigment on lower eyelids and beneath eyes; small eyes (do not extend to outer margin of head when viewed from above; V-shaped patch of teeth in roof of mouth; up to 9 cm snout-vent length. Breeding male: smooth skin, bulbous vent, highly flattened tail, dark skin un undersides of feet. Breeding female: cone-shaped vent. Large larvae: large gills; tall tail fin extends to shoulder area; row of light spots on each side of back; belly sometimes pink or orange; up to 7.5 cm total length. Eggs: generally attached singly to objects in quiet water; egg/embryo moves freely in jelly capsule that is 3-4 mm in diameter.
Reproduction Comments: Timing of migrations and breeding varies greatly, depending on location and conditions. In many lowland areas, newts migrate to breeding sites and deposit eggs in late fall, winter, or spring, and the resulting larvae metamorphose several moinths later in summer or fall. At higher elevations in the mountains, breeding may occur in summer or early fall, with metamorphosis about a year later. Eggs hatch in 20-26 days (Nussbaum et al. 1983) or 5-10 weeks (Behler and King 1979).
Ecology Comments: After breeding season, adults, as well as subadults and larvae, may form large aggregations. Skin secretion repels many predators.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrations between uplands and breeding sites may traverse up to several hundred meters. Migrations often occur during or after seasonal rains. Males migrate earlier than females.
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Pool
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian, TEMPORARY POOL
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: Rough-skinned newts inhabit various wooded and open valley habitats that include the required aquatic breeding habitat, such as lakes, reservoirs, ponds, and stream pools or backwaters. They generally spend most of their lives on land, but in some areas adults may be aquatic throughout the year or during the dry season. Breeding females attach eggs singly on aquatic plants or submerged twigs.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Larvae probably eat zooplankton and small aquatic invertebrates. Adults feed mostly on small terrestrial or aquatic invertebrates.
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: As is true of other land-dwelling amphibians, activity is minimal or absent during freezing weather or extended drought.

In contrast to most salamanders, newts commonly are active in the open on land in daytime. This behavior is associated with high levels of toxins in the bodies of newts in most of their range. The toxins protect the newts from fatal attacks by various kinds of predators. It is safe to handle newts, but do not ingest them or their skin secretions.

Length: 22 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.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Anderson, B.C. 2004. An opportunistic amphibian inventory in Alaska's national parks 2001-2003. Anchorage, AK: National Park Service, Inventory and Monitoring Program.

  • Behler, J. L., and F. W. King. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American reptiles and amphibians. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 719 pp.

  • Blackburn, L., P. Nanjappa, and M. J. Lannoo. 2001. An Atlas of the Distribution of U.S. Amphibians. Copyright, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, USA.

  • Blaustein, A.R., D.P. Chivers, L.B. Kats and J.M. Kiesecker. 2000. Effects of ultraviolet radiation on locomotion and orientation in Roughskin Newts (Taricha granulosa). Ethology 106: 227-234.

  • Carstensen, R., M. Willson and R. Armstrong. 2003. Habitat use of amphibians in northern southeast Alaska. Unpublished report to Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Juneau, AK: Discovery Southeast.

  • Cook, F. R. 1984. Introduction to Canadian amphibians and reptiles. National Museum of Natural Sciences, National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario.

  • 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.

  • Frost, D. R. 2002. Amphibian Species of the World: an online reference. V2.21 (15 July 2002). Electronic database available at http://research.amnh.org/herpetology/amphibia/index.html.

  • Green, D. M., and R. W. Campbell. 1984. The amphibians of British Columbia. British Columbia Provincial Museum, Handbook No. 45. 101 pp.

  • Hodge, R. P. 1976. Amphibians and reptiles in Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Alaska Northwest Publishing Company Anchorage, Alaska. 89 pp.

  • MacDonald, S.O. 2003. The amphibians and reptiles of Alaska. A Field Handbook. Unpublished report to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Juneau, AK.

  • Monello, R. J., and R. G. Wright. 1997. Geographic distribution: Taricha granulosa. Herpetological Review 28:155.

  • Nussbaum, R.A. and Brodie, E.D. Jr. 1981. Taricha granulosa. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles. 272:1-4.

  • Nussbaum, R.A., E.D. Brodie, Jr., and R.M. Storm. 1983. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Pacific Northwest. University Press of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho. 332 pp.

  • Petranka, J. W. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1954a. Amphibians and reptiles of western North America. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 1985a. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. xiv + 336 pp.

  • Stebbins, R. C. 2003. A field guide to western reptiles and amphibians. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

  • Waters, D.L. 1992. Habitat associations, phenology, and biogeography of amphibians in the Stikine River basin and southeast Alaska. Unpubl. rep. of the 1991 pilot project. U.S. Dept. Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, California Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA. 61 pp.

  • Weller, W. F., and D. M. Green. 1997. Checklist and current status of Canadian amphibians. Pages 309-328 in D. M. Green, editor. Amphibians in decline: Canadian studies of a global problem. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Herpetological Conservation 1.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of November 2016.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2017 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.