What Newts Are Found in Ohio?
- The eastern red-spotted newt is a small salamander. It grows to between 3 and 6 inches in length and has a slender body. The newt is olive to dark green in color with red spots bordered with black rings. Immature individuals are brighter in color, more fully red all over and are referred to as red efts. It has rough, moist skin and has small eyes with horizontal-shaped pupils.
Habitat and Range
- In Ohio, the newt is found in scattered populations throughout the state but is most common in the southeast. The species lives in the Eastern U.S. and as far west as central Texas. In the early larval stage and adult phase of the newt's life, it lives mainly in small pools, ponds or lakes. While maturing after first leaving the water, the newt goes through a terrestrial phase when it lives most commonly in forested areas in damp leaf litter.
Diet and Predators
- The eastern red-spotted newt is insectivorous and throughout its life feeds on small insects, larvae and anything smaller than themselves that they find. During the larval and adult stages it eats mostly water-based insects. Juvenile newts eat the insects and larvae found in the damp leaf litter of the forest floor. As an adult, the newt can produce a mild toxic mucus through its skin to deter predators, but some animals are not affected by this. A variety of birds, carnivorous mammals, fish and other amphibians readily feed on the newt.
- The newt's breeding season runs from late winter to early spring. During courtship, males drop a sperm packet, which is picked up by the female to fertilize the eggs. The female then lays the eggs in several locations on submerged leaves in ponds. Around 200 to 400 eggs are laid by each female per year that take between three and eight weeks to hatch. The eggs hatch out into tadpoles which mature and grow legs by late summer or early fall. Once they leave the water, they are efts and will remain so for three to seven years before returning to the pond. The eastern red-spotted newt can live between 12 and 15 years.