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Black-spotted newt
Black-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus meridionalis), Santa Ana NWR, Hidalgo Co, TX, USA, (26.0821°N, 98.1354°W), 14 April 2016.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Genus:
Notophthalmus
Species:
meridionalis
Subspecies

N. m. kallerti (Wolterstorff, 1930)
N. m. meridionalis

Synonyms
  • Diemyctylus miniatus meridionalis Cope, 1880
  • Molge meridionalis (Cope, 1880)
  • Diemyctylus meridionalis (Cope, 1880)
  • Triturus meridionalis (Cope, 1880)
  • Diemyctylus kallerti Wolterstorff, 1930
  • Triturus kallerti (Wolterstorff, 1930)
  • Notophthalmus kallerti (Wolterstorff, 1930)

Notophthalmus meridionalis, the black-spotted newt or Texas newt, is a species of aquatic newt native to northeastern Mexico and southern Texas in the United States.

Description

The black-spotted newt grow to 7.4–10.9 centimetres (2.9–4.3 in) long, and is typically an olive green in color, with numerous black spots. The underside is often yellow in color, which can sometimes extend up to the sides. They have smooth skin, and a paddle-shaped, vertically flattened tail. They live in quiet stretches of streams and permanent and temporary ponds and ditches.

Behavior

Black-spotted newts prefer shallow-water habitats, heavy with vegetation. During the dry season, they are believed to burrow underground or remain under debris. They are carnivorous, consuming a wide variety of prey, including insects, aquatic invertebrates, leeches, and other amphibians. Their toxic skin secretions are used to deter predators. Breeding occurs year-round. The life history of this species is not well known and the presence of an eft stage has yet to be determined.

Range

Notophthalmus meridionalis can be found in the states of Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and San Luis Potosí in Mexico, barely extending into northeastern Hidalgo and Puebla. It is also found in southern Texas along the Gulf of Mexico.

Conservation

The black-spotted newt is listed as a threatened species in Texas and as an endangered species by the IUCN.

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