- Aquatic Biomes
- lakes and ponds
- rivers and streams
- temporary pools
- Range elevation
- 0 to 2743 m
- 0.00 to 8999.34 ft
- Range depth
- 0 to 12 m
- 0.00 to 39.37 ft
The eggs of (Jones, et al., 2005)are each separately encased in a gelatinous substance, around 3 to 4 millimeters in diameter. The ova are generally light-brown on top and cream colored on the bottom.
Larvae are aquatic, with a faint dorsal stripe on either side of the body that fades as they mature. Larvae have a dark stripe that extends from the eye to the nostril as well as two rows of spots. One row is near the limb insertions and the other is near the fin. The fin is speckled with dark spots. Larvae measure around 18 mm in total length. (Jones, et al., 2005; Petranka, 1998)
Adults range from about 12.7 to 21.6 cm in total length. They have rough, grainy skin that is dark-colored dorsally and orange to yellow-orange ventrally. Their textured skin has earned them the common name "rough-skinned newts." Their eyes are relatively small and do not extend beyond the edges of the head. The irises are yellow, and the lower eyelids are orange. The vomerine teeth are arranged in a V-shaped pattern. Costal grooves are absent. Males are larger than females, with longer vents. During the breeding season, males and females become temporarily aquatic. Males develop smooth, spongy skin that is lighter-colored than usual. Their vents are strongly pronounced and swollen. The tail crests become more pronounced, as do the nuptial pads on the tips of their toes. The appearance of the females does not change, though their vent becomes cone-shaped. (Behler and King, 1979; Jones, et al., 2005; Petranka, 1998)
Some adults living at high elevations retain their gills and are totally aquatic, though they do not exhibit genuine paedomorphosis. Aquatic females can sometimes be confused with breeding males, because they have lighter, smoother skin, tail crests, and larger vents than do terrestrial females. However, these features are less pronounced than in breeding males. (Jones, et al., 2005; Petranka, 1998)
- Sexual Dimorphism
- male larger
- sexes shaped differently
- Range length
- 12.7 to 21.6 cm
- 5.00 to 8.50 in
- Development - Life Cycle
Breeding takes place underwater, and is initiated by the male. He climbs on top of the female, clasps her with his legs, and proceeds to rub the snout of the female with his chin while stroking her legs with his hind legs. This behavior is known as amplexus, and can last anywhere from several hours to two days. The male then releases the female, crawls in front of her, and deposits a spermatophore, which is a gelatinous mass with a small capsule of sperm at the top. The female picks up the sperm capsule with her cloaca (vent). In some instances other males will attempt to separate an amplexed pair. (Petranka, 1998)
- Mating System
- polygynandrous (promiscuous)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding interval
- Rough-skinned newts breed annually or biennially, depending on their location.
- Breeding season
- At high elevations most breeding occurs during late summer, while at lower elevations most breeding occurs during the spring months.
- Range time to hatching
- 3 to 4 weeks
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 4 to 5 years
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 4 to 5 years
There is no parental care exhibited by this species. The female takes care to attach her eggs to vegetation so they will not float away and provides nutrients for development. (Petranka, 1998)
- Parental Investment
- no parental involvement
Little is known about the longevity of (Ridenhour, et al., 2007), but marked specimens have been recaptured after 17-18 years.
- Range lifespan
- 18 (high) years
- Range lifespan
Not much is known about territory size, but aquatic adults seem to prefer shallow water during the beginning of the year (spring) and deeper water during the latter part of the year.
Communication and Perception
Larvae eat small aquatic invertebrates. Aquatic adults have been known to eat a variety of organisms, from snails and insects to other amphibians. (Petranka, 1998)
Adult terrestrial (Packer, 1961)appear to be opportunistic carnivores, with insects making up a large portion of their diet.
- Animal Foods
- terrestrial non-insect arthropods
Because of the extreme toxicity of rough-skinned newts, they have only one known predator, common garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis), which seem to be immune to tetrodotoxin. It has been proposed that these two species are competing against each other in an evolutionary arms race, in which a predator species and a prey species co-evolve, each developing greater defenses against the other. In this case, as the newts evolve greater toxicity, garter snakes evolve greater resistance to the toxicity. (Brodie III and Brodie Jr., 1990)
- Anti-predator Adaptations
- Known Predators
- common garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis)
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
is of particular interest to biologists because of its evolutionary arms race relationship with common garter snakes. This species is also exploited for the pet trade.
- Positive Impacts
- pet trade
- research and education
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
There are no known adverse effects of (Brodie III and Brodie Jr., 1990)on humans, unless ingested. These newts contain enough toxin to kill several humans.
- Negative Impacts
- injures humans
Rough-skinned newts are not listed as threatened or endangered, but like many amphibian species may face such a distinction if their habitat is extensively threatened by human development.
Tanya Dewey (editor), Animal Diversity Web.
Amanda Lorenz (author), Michigan State University, James Harding (editor, instructor), Michigan State University.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
having coloration that serves a protective function for the animal, usually used to refer to animals with colors that warn predators of their toxicity. For example: animals with bright red or yellow coloration are often toxic or distasteful.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
an animal that mainly eats meat
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
- active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
mainly lives in water that is not salty.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.
- internal fertilization
fertilization takes place within the female's body
referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
makes seasonal movements between breeding and wintering grounds
eats mollusks, members of Phylum Mollusca
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.
specialized for swimming
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
- pet trade
the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.
an animal which has a substance capable of killing, injuring, or impairing other animals through its chemical action (for example, the skin of poison dart frogs).
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
uses sight to communicate
animal constituent of plankton; mainly small crustaceans and fish larvae. (Compare to phytoplankton.)
2007. "Native Amphibians--Introduction" (On-line). Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Accessed December 01, 2007 at http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/statewide/ngplan/files/Amphibians.pdf.
Behler, J., F. King. 1979. National Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Reptiles and Amphibians. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc..
Bishop, S. 1943. Handbook of Salamanders: The Salamanders of the United States, Canada, and of Lower California. Ithaca, NY: Comstock Publishing Company, Inc..
Brodie III, E., E. Brodie Jr.. 1990. Tetrodotoxin resistance in garter snakes: an evolutionary response of predators to dangerous prey. Evolution, 44/3: 651-659.
Jones, L., W. Leonard, D. Olson. 2005. Amphibians of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA: Seattle Audobon Society.
Packer, W. 1961. Feeding behavior in adult Taricha . Copeia, 1961/3: 351-352.
Petranka, J. 1998. Salamanders of the United States and Canada. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press.