Striped Newt (Notophthalmus perstriatus)

Come look at this cool amphibian in its various stages of development! There is a special striped newt breeding
program going on in the New England Farmyard barn right now, where visitors can observe these newts all the way from tiny eggs to adults. There are several zoos working to try to help boost the population of this species. The program will be a way to learn more about these animals and what can be done to save them from extirpation in the wild.

Description: 

Adult striped newts are relatively small, with a pair of red stripes along the sides of the body that extend down to the tail. The dorsal (back) color is dark brown to olive green, sometimes with black spots. Ventral (underside) color is yellow with some black specks. They can be between 5-9 cm long. Larvae are mostly translucent, have broad dorsal fins, bushy gills, and are about 8mm long when they first hatch. Hatchlings have dark bands along their body that fade, being replaced by a series of light dashes on the sides as they mature. Juvenile eft stage is similar in color to adults, but more of a dull orange dorsally and the skin is rougher in appearance. Some populations have both metamorphosed and gilled adults. Gilled adults look similar to metamorphosed adults, with red stripes or spots.

Habitat: 

Preferred breeding season habitat is wetlands with small ponds, drainage ditches and other standing or sluggish bodies of water. Rarely occur in permanent ponds, which often harbor predatory fishes. Adults and efts occur in surrounding forests the remaining part of the year and when the ponds dry up. An interesting note is that fire, whether natural or prescribed, is essential to maintaining their habitat. When fire burns through the dry pond basin and surrounding area, nutrients are released from the wood and become part of the soil.

Range: 

Found only in northern Florida and southeastern Georgia. Populations are isolated and scattered, not continuous throughout range.

Diet: 

A wide range of aquatic invertebrates, as well as frog eggs.

Life Span: 

Approximately 7 in the wild and 10 to 15 in captivity.

Family Life: 

Adult striped newts migrate to breeding ponds from surrounding uplands shortly before breeding. Movement is usually tied to periods of heavy rains when temporary ponds fill. Breeding season lasts from mid-winter through spring. Females attach eggs singly to aquatic plants about a month after mating. Larvae hatch out after a month and do not receive any parental care.

Status: 

These newts are in sharp decline regionally. The quantity and quality of the habitat has declined and continues to be threatened by conversion to other uses.