Notophthalmus – North American Newts

It can regenerate like a superhero and pulls off a mind-blowing double metamorphosis

These newts, commonly known as eastern newts, inhabit the eastern regions of North America, ranging from Canada to Mexico. The name “Notophthalmus” has its origins in Greek words that translate to “back” and “eye,” referencing the distinctive row of pores on their temples. These pores are a notable characteristic of this genus.

Notophthalmus has smooth and soft skin, which differentiates them from some other amphibian species. Additionally, their tails are flattened sideways, contributing to their unique appearance. They also have a diverse range of colors and patterns, which vary depending on the species. These variations add to the visual appeal and distinctiveness of each species within the genus.

What truly sets them apart is their exceptional regenerative abilities. They possess the remarkable capacity to regrow various body parts, including limbs, the spinal cord, heart tissue, and even parts of their brain. This regenerative capability allows them to recover from injuries and adapt to their dynamic environments effectively.

Unlike many amphibian species that typically undergo a single metamorphosis from aquatic larvae to terrestrial adults, eastern newts go through multiple stages. They begin their life cycle as aquatic larvae, then transition into a terrestrial juvenile stage, and finally undergo another transformation to return to the water as fully aquatic adults. This unique life cycle highlights their adaptability to different ecological niches throughout their development.