Red Spotted Newt
The red spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) is definitely unique. Most salamanders live in water until the become an adult, when they become land-living. The opposite is true for this species. A few months after the hatching of the 200-400 eggs that were produced from the March to May breeding period, the larva loses its gills and acquires lungs. At this time they begin to live on the land in the red eft stage.
The red eft is bright orange, with dry, rough skin and a rounded tail, more like a lizard than a salamander. The eft is diurnal and commonly seen in the forest especially during or after a rain where it can be seen feeding on worms, insects, small crustaceans, amphibians eggs and larva. As visible as the red eft is, it doesn't worry much about predators. Its skin releases a very toxic substance that everyone tries to avoid.
After 2 -3 years on land, the red eft begins to change. Its skin changes to an olive-green and becomes slimy. The tail also becomes broad, much more like a salamander. Once this change is complete, the now adult red spotted newt is approximately 3 - 4 inches long. It then returns to the water to breed and to spend the rest of its life. Its life expectancy is 12 - 15 years.
Red spotted newts can be found throughout Ohio near permanent or semi-permanent bodies of water edged by undisturbed woodlands.