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June 18, 2018  |  Login

Black-spotted Newt
Notophthalmus meridionalis

What Are They Like?

The black-spotted newt measures about 3-4 inches (7-10 centimeters) long, and is typically olive-green with black spots and a yellow underbelly. It has smooth skin and a paddle-shaped, vertically flattened tail.

Where Do They Live?

Black-spotted newts live in damp places with submerged vegetation such as quiet streams, ditches and permanent or temporary ponds. They live in both Texas and Mexico along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Did You Know?
Black-spotted newts are found only in the southern United States and Mexico.

How Are Babies Made?

Fertilization is internal; the male newt passes capsules of sperm to the female, which lays eggs in the water. The newt has three distinct life phases: egg, larva and adult.

What Do They Eat?

All newts are carnivorous, eating a wide variety of prey including insects, aquatic invertebrates, leeches and other amphibians.. They hunt their prey using their sense of smell and sight. Newts do not need to consume a lot of food because they do not move around a lot. They can eat a large quantity at one time and store up fat deposits for periods of drought or cold.


What Do They Do?

In order to avoid predators, newts are only active at night. Additionally, they produce toxic secretions that discourage predators.

How Concerned Should We Be?

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which keeps a "Red List" of species in danger worldwide, lists the black-spotted newt as "endangered." Its range is less than 200 square miles (500 square kilometers), and distribution is severely fragmented. Their once large population in Texas is declining because of habitat alteration from farming. Black-spotted newts are also vulnerable to insecticides and pollution.

What's Being Done?

Both the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Mexican government are working to preserve the black-spotted newt.


Black-spotted Newt

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