Eastern Newt

Eastern Newts

Notophthalmus viridescens


The eft stage of this newt’s life can last anywhere from two weeks to five years.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Washington - Amphibian Gallery

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Eastern Newt

Eastern newts vary in color depending on age and sex, ranging from yellowish-brown to greenish-brown dorsally, with black-bordered red spots. The ventral color is yellow, and black spots speckle the belly. These newts are slightly moist with rough, scaleless skin. They secrete a toxin from their skin to prevent predation.

Eastern newts have quite a life cycle. They hatch from an egg as aquatic larvae with external gills. After a few months, they metamorphose into a bright-red terrestrial form with lungs, called a red eft. After some time, the efts go through another metamorphosis, changing to a yellow-green color, and return to water, but retain their lungs.

As red efts and adults, these newts secret toxic substances from the skin that taste foul and can be deadly. The adults have several red spots down each side, which may serve as a warning to potential predators. The red efts are more toxic, and therefore the entire body is brightly colored.


The aquatic larvae eat small invertebrates including water fleas, snails, and beetle larvae; terrestrial efts eat small invertebrates, including snails, spring tails, and soil mites; adult newts eat mainly midge larvae and other immature stages of aquatic insects.


The eastern newt grows to approximately 2.75–4.75 inches long.


Eastern Canada and northern America, south to Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida

Population Status

The eastern newt is not endangered.


Birds, mammals, fish, and other amphibians prey on these newts; however, many of them are deterred by the newt's toxic skin secretions.

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A Note From the Caretaker

Eastern newts have quite a life cycle, beginning in the egg stage, then to larvae, then to the terrestrial eft stage, and finally to an aquatic adult stage. Some populations may remain in the eft stage for two weeks, or for as long as five years!


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