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Is a newt a salamander? Yes. Newts, also called efts when on land, are an informal grouping of salamanders, characterized for their rough-textured skin. In addition to their importance in food chains, their unique adaptations add benefit to humans, whether fascination of the diversity of nature or their use in medical and scientific fields.
See the fact file below for more information on the newt or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Newt worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Compared to salamanders, newts have roughly-textured skin. They have a biphasic life cycle with aquatic larvae, with eight gill slits, and large outer gills, which then undergo metamorphosis into adults that may either be terrestrial or aquatic and that have long, prominent, and sturdy legs.
- There are some newts that have complicated life stages, with two metamorphoses and three development phases, from the aquatic larva, to a terrestrial juvenile (red eft), and a secondarily aquatic adult.
- It takes a number of years before newts reach sexual maturity. Most newts breed between February and June, and their eggpoles hatch as tadpoles in ponds or slow-moving streams. Newts under the Triturus genus can lay eggs even in brackish waters, but most species are selective. Then, they go through metamorphosis, during which they usually depart for land.
- Right after metamorphosis, the majority of the North American newt species undergo a phase called the eft phase, wherein newts stay on land and and are rarely seen in the water.
- In some cases, metamorphosis to the eft phase involves change in the skin color. When the eft reaches adulthood, it soon starts to return to the water, causing the newt to spend most of its time in the aquatic realm. Many newts will live out their adulthood on land and only go to water bodies to breed.
- Salamanders release toxins on their skin and newts are known to be highly poisonous in phases of their life cycle, acting as a defense mechanism against their predators.
- The alligator newt (Echinotriton andersoni) of Japan is known to extend its sharp ribs through its poison glands when grabbed, directly jabbing through the skin of the attacker, injecting the toxin.
- Taricha newts of western North America are also toxic, and the rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa) of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States of America emits more than enough tetrodotoxin that is lethal to any human foolish enough to feed on a newt.
- Newts are able to regenerate their limbs, eyes, spinal cords, hearts, intestines, and upper and lower jaws, as their cells can de-differentiate, reproduce quickly, and differentiate again to form a new limb or organ.
- Newts are widely distributed, spanning across Europe and with species found in North America, China, Laos, Vietnam, Japan, Middle East, and northwestern Africa.
- Three common European genera are the crested newts (Triturus sp.), the European newts (Tylototriton sp.), the banded newts (Ommatotriton sp.), and some species such as the Spanish ribbed newt (Pleurodeles waltl), the largest newt, and the Alpine newt (Mesotriton alpestris).
- The Eastern newts (Notophthalmus sp.), of which the red-spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) is the most common species but can only be found in areas east of the Rocky Mountains, is distributed across North America.
- The three species of coastal, or Western, newts are the red-bellied newt, California newt, and the rough-skinned newt, under the genus Taricha, that live in areas west of the Rockies.
- In Southeast Asia and Japan, newts are commonly involved in pet trade, including the fire belly newts (Cynops sp.), the paddletail newts (Pachytriton sp.), the crocodile newts (Tylototriton sp.), and the warty newts (Paramesotriton sp.). The Middle Eastern newts (Neurergus sp.) can be spotted in the Middle East.
- The word eft is considered to be the oldest version of the name newt, which is still used to call newly metamorphosed juveniles.
- Others change “an eft” to “a neft” with the letter “f” replacing “w.”
- Habitat loss, fragmentation, and pollution have affected the newt’s population and destroyed their breeding sites and terrestrial habitats.
- The Yunnan lake newt has recently reached extinction.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the newt across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Newt worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about newts, also called efts when on land, which are an informal grouping of salamanders, characterized for their rough-textured skin. In addition to their importance in food chains, their unique adaptations add benefit to humans, whether fascination of the diversity of nature or their use in medical and scientific fields.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Newt Facts
- Creature Corner
- Newt or Not
- Lost Newt
- Complete the Puzzle
- Newt Species
- Word Search
- Newts and Salamanders
- New(t) Lover
- Newt Neighbor
- As Bioindicators
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Link will appear as Newt Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 13, 2021
Use With Any Curriculum
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