Eastern Newt Eft

This little fellow is an Eft, or land-based, form of the Eastern Newt (or Red-spotted Newt) whose formal name is Notophthalmus viridescens.

He started off as an olive-green aquatic larva with gills. Well, actually, he started off as an egg, but let’s not get hung up on technicalities. 

After being an aquatic larva, he transformed into this orange, land-based version with red spots. When he’s ready (anywhere from 1-3 years), he’ll turn back into an olive-green aquatic version with lungs. 

The only obvious characteristic that will remain from this land-based form will be those red spots on his sides. They look like they ought to glow in the dark, don’t they.

It’s believed the orange color & red spots convey to potential predators that this salamanders (in all their stages) are toxic & should, therefore, be left off the menu.

This little fellow was only about 6.5 cm long. In his final adult phase, he’ll be about 12 cm long.

They’re fascinating salamanders & always a treat to see, so I was happy this one let me grab his portrait before he went on his way.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia. Photos taken of wild critters where I find them. No posing, pestering, or baiting, & aiming to leave no trace. Corrections welcome to my critter IDs. Olympus EM1 Mark II, M.Zuiko ED 60mm f2.8 Macro, Fenix Headlamp & Focusing Lights, Godox TT350o Flash. DIY Diffuser. Handheld.