The Newts are In

February, 2009: The recent rains have finally moved the newts to move, and they have started returning to the Japanese Pool in larger numbers.  There is a conspicuous increase in  mating activity and egg laying is just getting underway.

Taricha torosa ( California newt) and Taricha granulosa (rough-skin newt)

Female watches visitors

Aquatic male

Gravid female looks around

Female full of eggs

This pond is a breeding site for two species of newts. They spend most of their life in seclusion on land. Moving and feeding begins with the fall rains and adults migrate to water for a short time to breed in winter and spring. At this time, they undergo a transformation from a rough skinned terrestrial form to an aquatic form; the males develop a smooth slimy skin and enlarged fin-like tail. At all times, the skin contains poison glands that produce highly toxic secretions.


Courting trio

Most of the individuals you see here are males (darker and plumper females spend less time in the water). You may also see courting pairs or groups (as in the photo).

Taricha torosa, egg clusters

The two species are generally similar in appearance. Taricha torosa is usually the most abundant. It lays gelatinous clusters of 7-30 eggs which are usually attached to stems of plants (most easily seen—right photo). In contrast, Taricha granulosa lays its eggs singly, wrapping each in a piece of vegetation.

You may be able to see developing larvae inside the eggs. The eggs hatch in 2-4 weeks. The larvae are small aquatic organisms with an enlarged tail-fin and external gills. They spend 1-2 seasons in the pond before metamorphosing into the adult form.

arvae are small (under 2 inches) aquatic organisms



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