Eastern Red Spotted Newt

Karen Kaleta

Franklin, United States

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Artist's Description

Notophthalmus viridescens ~ this tiny little guy only about 2-1/2" long was crossing a very small dirt road mountainside Along Panther Ridge in Macon County, NC. His color was so brillant and I was amazed at how small he really was. Since he was sitting in a tire track I figured we best get him off the road and convinced him to climb on a very large leaf I picked and put him in the moss on the opposite side of the road. Happy as a clam he drove right in and disappeared into the greenery. Environmentally, the eastern newt may benefit humans by helping to control the populations of aquatic insects, including mosquitoes. They are aesthetically interesting and may play an important ecological role in freshwater and woodland habitats. While, there is no special status listed for this species, newts have declined in the face of habitat degradation by humans, but remain locally common in parts of their range. Adult newts will readily colonize man-made bodies of water, even in the presence of predatory fish, as their toxic skin secretions may reduce fish predation. Researchers do believe, however, that eastern newts may be suffering at higher than normal rates from diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi, due to a variety of environmental problems including pollution.

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