Red-Spotted Newt

Fact File

Scientific Name: Notophthalmus viridescens

Classification: Amphibian

Size: Up to 4.8 inches

Distribution: Occurs statewide in Virginia. While adults are mostly aquatic inhabiting a variety of wetlands, efts are completely terrestrial and take up to 7 years to mature.

Identifying Characteristics

Adults are a shade of green with numerous red dots surrounded by black on the back. The belly is yellow with small black dots. The greenish larvae have a black stripe on each side of the head. Juveniles, called red efts, are bright red to orange with reddish spots encircled with black.

Did You Know?

The bright colored efts avoid predation from birds because red and orange conveys a warning that they are poisonous.

Role in the Web of Life

Adults can be active in water year-round and efts are active on the ground even in daytime. Females deposit 50–300 eggs singly on leaves on vegetation and wrap each one with glue from glands in their cloacae. All life stages eat a wide variety of invertebrates. Predaceous fish avoid newts because they have skin glands that secrete a toxic poison when disturbed.


Species appears to be secure in Virginia.

Last updated: February 22, 2021