AMPHIBIA (Amphibians) CAUDATA (Salamanders) SALAMANDRIDAE (Newts)

EASTERN NEWT
Notophthalmus viridescens (Rafinesque 1820)
nō-tŏp-thăl-mŭs — vĕr-ĭh-dĕs-sĕnz


Conservation Status:

State: Kansas Threatened Species

Federal: None
NatureServe State: S2 - Imperiled
NatureServe National: N5 - Secure
NatureServe Global: G5 - Secure
CITES: None

An adult Eastern Newt from Cherokee County, Kansas. Image © Travis W. Taggart.
Image © Suzanne L. Collins, CNAH.

Diagnosis:
Length in Kansas up to 4 inches. Aquatic larvae have flattened tails, olive-colored skin, and feathery gills. They transform into a dry, rough-skinned, terrestrial “eft” stage after 2 to 5 months as an aquatic larva. The eft is reddish-orange in color with two rows of black-bordered red spots along the sides. It has well-developed lungs, limbs, and eyelids. After 2 to 3 years on land, the eft returns to the water and transforms into an adult. The adults are yellowish-brown to greenish-brown and have black-bordered red spots. The belly color is yellow with black spots, and the tail becomes broad, finned, and vertically flattened.
Adults normally 57- 100 mm (2¼-4 inches) in total length. The largest specimen from Kansas is a female (KU 204158) from Cherokee County with a snout-vent length of 52 mm and a total length of 110 mm (4¾ inches) collected on 2 May 1984 by Stephen M. Reilly and David M. Hillis. The maximum length throughout the range is 5½ inches (Conant and Collins, 1998).

Distribution:
The Eastern Newt is found along the wooded riparian corridors of the Marais des Cygnes, Spring, and Marmaton river drainage basins.
(,   Museum Voucher) (,   Observation) (,   Literature Record) (,   iNat Record)
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  • Occurrence Summary:  
  • 87
    Records 
  • 68
    Museum Vouchers 
  • 19
    Other Observations 
Some county occurrences indicated below may be too imprecise to map above.
County Breakdown: County Name (# occurrences):
Bourbon (6); Cherokee (63); Crawford (1); Linn (6); Miami (9); Unknown (2);

Natural History:
The Eastern Newt is unique among Kansas amphibians in its tri-phasic life-cycle. The aquatic larvae hatch from eggs and remain in weed-choked woodland pools, ponds, and ditches from 6 months to 1 year. They then transform to a terrestrial eft stage at which time they may wander through continuous woodlands a considerable distance from where they transformed. Efts have well-developed lungs, limbs, and eyelids. They may spend two to three years among the leaf litter and logs as efts. They then return to the water as gill-less adults. Adults remain at the breeding site for the rest of their life, if the water is permanent, or spend dry seasons on land and move back to the water in spring. They feed on any invertebrate that they can fit in their mouth.

Occurrence Activity:
White dates indicate there is at least a single recorded occurrence on that date. The darker blue a date is, the greater the relative number of observations for that date.
Remarks:
First reported in Gloyd (1932) where he discovered an eft-staged specimen in a piece of decaying wood on 31 August 1928 and an aquatic adult nearby on 6 April 1929.
Listed as a Kansas Endangered species in 1978 and downlisted to Threatened in 1987. No recovery plan has been completed.
Kansas designated critical habitat is defined as, all suitable wetlands, waters, and moist wooded bottomlands occurring within that portion of Cherokee County lying south and east of a line starting at the Kansas-Missouri border at Kansas Highway 96 in the SE 1/4 Sec. 12, T33S, R25E, then extending west along K-96 to its junction with Kansas Highway 26 at the NE corner Sec. 18, T33S, R25E, then south along K-26 to its junction with U.S. Highway 66 at SE corner Sec. 18, T34S, R25E, then south and west along U.S. 66 to the Kansas-Oklahoma border at Sec. 14, T35S, R24E. All suitable wetlands, water, and moist wooded bottomland occurring within 5 air miles of the Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area, Linn County.
At localities this species is known to occur, it can be reliably found from year to year. However, few such locations are known across its range in Kansas. Populations are geographically small, localized, and centered on suitable breeding sites.
Irwin and Collins (1994) rediscovered this species in Linn County after a 44-year lapse. They reported several new localities and commented on the breeding condition of several adults.

Bibliography:
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1820 Rafinesque, Constantine S. Annals of Nature or Annual Synopsis of New Genera and Species of Animals, Plants, and Discoveries in North America. First Annual Number, for 1820. Thomas Smith, Lexington, Kentucky. 16pp.
Contains the original description of Triturus viridescens (=Notophthalmus viridescens) page 5.
1932 Gloyd, Howard K. The herpetological fauna of the Pigeon Lake Region, Miami County, Kansas. Papers of the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 15():389-408
First record of Notophthalmus viridescens from Kansas. Second record (after the type locality) of Pseudacris crucifer from Kansas.
1933 Stejneger, Leonhard and Thomas Barbour. A Checklist of North American Amphibians and Reptiles. 3rd Edition. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts. pp.
Reference to Kansas is the listed range of several species.
1933 Brumwell, Malcolm J. Distributional records of the reptilia and amphibians of Kansas. Privately printed, . 22pp.
County dot maps of the Kansas herpetofauna. This work has been attributed to have been written around 1933, but that may be in error.
1933 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas Thesis. University of Kansas, Lawrence. 383pp.
The first full accounting of the twenty-five species of amphibians known to occur in Kansas. Includes Ambystoma maculatum which is currently not included in the Kansas faunal list.
1934 Smith, Hobart M. The Amphibians of Kansas. American Midland Naturalist 15(4):377-527
The formal publication of Hobart Smith's Master's Thesis (Smith 1933), though there are several updated and additions. In addition to the species accounts for all twenty-five species, the paper includes a history of amphibian biology in Kansas and discussions on taxonomy and physiography. 
1935 Knight, Howard. A Key to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. Thesis. Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. 125pp.
1943 Bishop, Sherman C. Handbook of Salamanders: The Salamanders of the United States, of Canada, and of Lower California. Comstock Publishing Company., Ithaca, New York.. pp.
1946 Breukelman, John and Hobart M. Smith. Selected records of reptiles and amphibians from Kansas University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History 1(5):101-112
1950 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication (2):336
The first modern herpetology of Kansas. Includes locality dot maps within individual species accounts. Reports 96 species from Kansas (table and text say 97 on p. 10) and 13 "probable but unverified" species and subspecies.
1956 Smith, Hobart M. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of Kansas. Second edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Miscellaneous Publication (9):1-356
Hobart M. Smith's updated second edition of his first (1950) modern herpetology of Kansas. Includes locality dot maps within individual species accounts. Reports 96 species from Kansas (table says 97 on p. 10; text says 98 on p. 10) and 11 "probable but unverified" species and subspecies. The second edition has updated taxonomy, added Plestiodon laticeps, and removed Eurycea tynerensis.
1956 Loomis, Richard B. The chigger mites of Kansas (Acarina, Trombiculidae). University of Kansas Science Bulletin 37():1195-1443
Examined 2,628 Kansas reptiles of 48 species consisting of 27 turtles of 4 species, 1,736 lizards of 12 species and 892 snakes of 32 species for chiggers. Eleven species of chiggers were recovered from reptiles.
For amphibians, 1188 individuals of 21 species were examined. Five species of chigger mite were recovered from amphibians.
1959 Collins, H. H. Complete Field Guide to American Wildlife. Harper and Brothers, New York. pp.
1967 Mecham, John S. Notophthalmus viridescens. Catalogue of American Amphibians and Reptiles (53):1-4
1970 Clarke, Robert F. Salamanders in Kansas and vicinity. Kansas School Naturalist 16(4):1-16
1971 Cross, Frank B. Environmental Inventory and Assessment of the Grand (Neosho) River Basin, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas. Kansas Biological Survey and Institute of Social Environmental Studies, Lawrence. pp.
1974 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (1):283 pp
Joseph T. Collins first Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Smith 1956)>
1974 Ashton, Ray E., Jr. Unusual flora and fauna of Kansas: The Central Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) (Rafinesque). Kansas Association of Biology Teachers News 15():2
1974 Platt, Dwight R., Joseph T. Collins, and Ray E. Ashton, Jr. Rare, endangered and extirpated species in Kansas. II. Amphibians and reptiles. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 76(3):185-192
The initial initiative to determine population and conservation status of Kansas' amphibians and reptiles based on our understanding at the time. A lot has changed regarding our increased knowledge on all the listed species.
1974 Karns, Daryl, Ray E. Ashton, Jr., and Thomas Swearingen. Illustrated Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas: An Identification Manual. University of Kansas Publications Museum of Natural History Public Education Series(2):viii + 18
1976 Rundquist, Eric M. Field checklist (of) amphibians and reptiles of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1976 Ashton, Ray E., Jr., Stephen R. Edwards, and George R. Pisani. Endangered and threatened amphibians and reptiles in the United States. Herpetological Circulars (5):65
1977 Rundquist, Eric M. and Joseph T. Collins. The amphibians of Cherokee County, Kansas. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 12pp.
1977 Perry, Janice. Kansas herps needed. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (18):2-3
List of Kansas amphibians and reptiles desired for the SSAR/HL meeting to be held 7-13 August 1977.
1977 Harrison, Ross. A plan for Kansas wildlife. Kansas Fish and Game (34(6)):5-24
1977 Ashton, Ray E., Jr. The Central Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens louisianensis (Wolterstorff) in Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 79():15-19
1978 Rundquist, Eric M., Eddie Stegall, David Grow, and Peter Gray. New herpetological records from Kansas. Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science (81):73-77
Reports on new population discoveries of five species for which information was lacking at the time.
1978 Hlavachick, B. D. Rare, threatened and endangered. Kansas Fish and Game 35(1):18-24
1981 Collins, Joseph T., Peter Gray, Hank Guarisco, Kelly J. Irwin, and Larry Miller. The Kansas Herpetological Society Presents Endangered and Threatened Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society, Lawrence. pp.
1981 Schwilling, Marvin. Kansas nongame and endangered wildlife. Kansas School Naturalist 27(3):3-15
1982 Henderson, F. R. and W. F. Andelt. Leaders guide to Endangered and Threatened wildlife in Kansas. Kansas State University, Cooperative Extension Unit, Manhattan, Kansas. pp.
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Report to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission on the status of three amphibians in southeastern Kansas. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. 57pp.
1982 Collins, Joseph T. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. 2nd edition. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Public Education Series (8):
Joseph T. Collins second Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1974)>
1982 Guarisco, Hank, Peter Gray, and Joseph T. Collins. Focus of 1982 KHS field trips. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (47):5-6
1983 Ballinger, Royce E. and John D. Lynch. How to Know the Amphibians and Reptiles. Wm. C. Brown,, Dubuque, Iowa. pp.
1983 Loraine, Raymond K. Report to the Kansas Fish and Game Commission on the status of two amphibians in southeastern Kansas. Contract 76.  ():56
1983 Schwilling, Marvin. and J. M. Schaefer. Kansas nongame, threatened, and endangered species: Annual report. Kansas Fish and Game Commission, Pratt. i + 28pp.
1983 Ireland, Patrick H. and Ronald Altig. Key to the gilled salamander larvae and larviform adults of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Southwestern Naturalist 28(3):271-274
1984 Brown, Kenneth L. Pomona: A plains village variant in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Dissertation. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas. 519pp.
1984 Altig, Ronald and Patrick H. Ireland. A key to salamander larvae and larviform adults of the United States and Canada. Herpetologica 40(2):212-218
1985 Collins, Joseph T. (Editor) Natural Kansas. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence. pp.
1985 Wood, R. D. Critical habitats for endangered and threatened herps of Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (60):13-15
1986 Terry, P. A. Biological survey of the KS segments of Spring River and Shoal Creek. Part 1. Field Survey. Draft. Kansas Fish and Game, Pratt, Kansas. 67pp.
1986 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians and reptiles in Kansas for 1986. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (66):9-16
1988 Busby, William H. The Kansas Natural Heritage Program: Taking stock of Kansas' natural heritage. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (71):9-12
1989 Simmons, John E. Endangered and threatened in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (75):4-5
1989 Capron, Marty. Threatened and endangered: A critique of the Kansas list. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (76):14-15
1990 Lardie, Richard L. Kansas threatened species and protection of the Gypsum Hills habitat. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (80):14-15
1990 Collins, Joseph T. Maximum size records for Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (81):13-17
1990 Reilly, S. M Biochemical systematics and evolution of the eastern North American newts, genus Notophthalmus (Caudata: Salamandridae) Herpetologica 46(1):51-59
1991 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1992 Freeman, Craig C. and Kelly Kindscher. Endangered and threatened species in the southeast Kansas highway corridor: Supporting documentation for Tasks 4 and 5 (in) Environmental Segments 2, 3, and 5.  Report 51. Kansas Biological Survey, Lawrence. 1-23pp.
1992 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas endangered, threatened, and SINC species. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (91):
1993 Collins, Joseph T. and Suzanne L. Collins. Amphibians and Reptiles in Kansas. Third Edition. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Lawrence. 397pp.
Joseph T. Collins third Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1982)>
1994 Irwin, Kelly J. and Joseph T. Collins A survey for threatened and endangered herpetofauna in the lower Marais des Cygnes River valley Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, . 6pp.
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. 1994 Field Trip Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (95):3-4
1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (97):5-14
See, 1994 Rundquist, Eric M. Additions and corrections [to the results of the sixth annual KHS herp counts held 1 April-31 May 1994]. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (98):4.
1995 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, Jerry Horak, Daniel Mulhern, William H. Busby, Craig C. Freeman, and G. Wallace. An Illustrated Guide to Endangered or Threatened Species in Kansas. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence. pp.
1995 Moriarty, Emily C. and Joseph T. Collins. First known occurrence of amphibian species in Kansas. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (100):28-30
1995 Irwin, Kelly J. Geographic distribution: Notophthalmus viridescens. Herpetological Review 26(2):104
1996 Rakestraw, J. Spring herp counts: A Kansas tradition. Reptile & Amphibian Magazine (March-April):75-80
1998 Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. 3rd ed, expanded. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. pp.
1998 Gamble, Jerre Marais des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Hartford, Kansas. 91pp.
1999 Rundquist, Eric M. Kansas Herpetological Society herp counts: A 10 year summary and evaluation. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (115):42962
1999 Taggart, Travis W. Cherokee County fall 1999 herp count. Kansas Herpetological Society Newsletter (117):6
Reported Anaxyrus woodhousii was likely A. fowleri.
2002 Kingsbury, Bruce and Joanna Gibson. Habitat Management Guidelines for Amphibians and Reptiles of the Midwest. Publication of Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Address not given. 152pp.
2003 Jagels, Joshua L. Geographic distribution: Notophthalmus viridescens. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (8):19
2004 Collins, Joseph T. New records of amphibians, turtles, and reptiles in Kansas for 2003. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (9):8-11
2004 Gabor, Caitlin R. and Chris C. Nice. Genetic variation among populations of Eastern Newts, Notophthalmus viridescens: A preliminary analysis based on allozymes. Herpetologica 60(3):373-386
2005 Miller, Ed J. and Bob Gress. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Threatened and Endangered Species. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. pp.
2005 Irwin, Kelly J. and Joseph T. Collins. A survey for selected species of herpetofauna in the lower Marais des Cygnes river valley, Linn and Miami counties, Kansas. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (14):12-13
2006 Bartlett, Richard D. and Patricia P. Bartlett. Guide and Reference to the Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America (North of Mexico). University Press of Florida, Gainesville. pp.
2006 Taggart, Travis W. Distribution and status of Kansas herpetofauna in need of information. State Wildlife Grant T7. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Pratt. vii + 106pp.
2007 Taggart, Travis W. Brief herpetological history of Pigeon Lake. Journal of Kansas Herpetology (22):6
2008 Industrial Economics, Incorporated Cherokee County: Restoration Plan / Environmental Assessment. Prepared for: US Department of the Interior, US Fish and Wildlife Service. Industrial Economics, Incorporated, Cambridge, MA. 138pp.
2010 Collins, Joseph T., Suzanne L. Collins, and Travis W. Taggart. Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles of Kansas Eagle Mountain Publishing., Provo, Utah. 400pp.
Joseph T. Collins fourth Kansas herpetology. <Need to get species total and principal differences with previous 'version' (= Collins 1993)>
2012 Rohweder, Megan R. Spatial conservation prioritization of Kansas for terrestrial vertebrates. Thesis. Fort Hays State University, Hays, Kansas. 151pp.
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2012 Spring Field Trip to Bourbon County State Lake. Collinsorum 2(3/4):3
2013 Taggart, Travis W. KHS 2013 Spring Field Trip to Schermerhorn Park, Cherokee County. Collinsorum 2(3/4):4
2015 Rohweder, Megan R. Kansas Wildlife Action Plan. Ecological Services Section, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism in cooperation with the Kansas Biological Survey. 176pp.
2016 Powell, Robert, Roger Conant, and Joseph T. Collins. Peterson Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 494pp.
2017 Taggart, Travis W. and J. Daren Riedle. A Pocket Guide to Kansas Amphibians, Turtles and Lizards. Great Plains Nature Center, Wichita, Kansas. 69pp.
2020 Daniel, Richard E. and Brian S. Edmond. Atlas of Missouri Amphibians and Reptiles for 2019. Privately printed, Columbia, Missouri. 86pp.
2020 Riedle, J. Daren. Revisiting Kansas Herpetological Society field trip and Herp Count data: Distributional patterns and trend data of Kansas amphibians and reptiles. Collinsorum 9(1):7-16
2021 Taggart, Travis W and Sarah L Taggart. Herp Count: Cherokee County: KHS-2020-02 Collinsorum 9(3):11-12
2021 Taggart, Travis W and Sarah L Taggart. Herp Count: Cherokee County: KHS-2020-03 Collinsorum 9(3):12
2021 Buckardt, Emma M., Christine C. Rega-Brodsky, and Andrew D. George. Geographic Distribution: Notophthalmus viridescens; USA: Kansas: Crawford Co. Herpetological Review 53(2):571
First report of Notophthalmus viridescens from Crawford County, Kansas.
Account Last Updated:
4/21/2021 8:22:34 AM