Geographical Range Southern islands of Japan
Habitat Forests, grasslands, croplands, swamps; breeds in ponds and pools
Scientific Name Echinotriton andersoni
Conservation Status Endangered

What's the news on newts? A newt is a salamander that spends much of its adult life on land but returns to the water each spring for a long breeding season.

The alligator newt is so-called because of its rough appearance, thanks to knobby glands located on the sides of the body. The glands are often tinted orange, as are the underside of the tail and the soles of the feet; otherwise, this critter is dark brown or black. It grows up to six or so inches in total length.

The day-to-day habits of the alligator newt remain rather mysterious because this little creature is well-hidden in its terrestrial (land) habitat. We do know that it eats a variety of small invertebrates, including earthworms, spiders, and insects.

We know more about this newt's breeding behavior, which happens in ponds, pools, and other still waters. Breeding season runs from February through June, with a peak in March and April. A female lays just one egg at a time, though she may do this several time over the course of the breeding season. The eggs hatch into larvae, which develop in the water, eventually transforming into adult amphibians through the process of metamorphosis.

The alligator newt is endangered, due mainly to habitat loss. This species is one of some 1,800 amphibian species facing an extinction crisis. Experts from around the world are working hard to understand and address the crisis. At the same time, there are many things you can do to help amphibians survive.

Did You Know?

Like many salamanders, the alligator newt has toxic skin secretions. But the alligator newt has a special way of passing its poison to a would-be predator. When grabbed, the salamander's sharp rib tips poke through the glands on the sides of its body, and the toxin is injected straight into the attacker. Now that hurts!