WASHINGTON (CN) – The striped newt, one of only two newts endemic to the eastern U.S. may need protection under the Endangered Species Act, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The agency has completed a 90 day status review of a petition to list the newt as threatened or endangered under the act.
The striped newt has one of the most complex life cycles of any amphibian. Sexually mature adults migrate to breeding ponds where courtship, copulation, and egg-laying take place. Then the eggs hatch and develop into externally gilled larvae until they undergo metamorphosis turning into terrestrial newts called efts, or remain in the pond and eventually mature into gilled aquatic adults. The eft remains terrestrial for 1 to 3 years and then returns to a breeding pond where its skin changes and it becomes an aquatic adult.
In captivity, striped newts have lived as long as 17 years. In the wild, however, their reproductive life span can be dramatically shortened by periods of drought and the loss of upland pine forests, where terrestrial adults live between reproductive cycles. The forests can be lost to invasive hardwoods and fire suppression.
The Fish and Wildlife Service requests information on the population, habitat and distribution of the striped newt and potential threats to its survival.