Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Salamandridae

Genus/species: Taricha torosa

GENERAL DESCRIPTION: It has a warty brown dorsal side and a yellow-orange ventral side. In outward appearance, Eyes extend beyond the profile of the head.

Taricha torosa22363814856_37c18ac5bf_o

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: West coast of the United States, mainly in California, extending from Humbolt County to San Diego. They prefer grassy regions but are most visible from December to May when they migrate back to their breeding ponds.

DIET: Slugs, worms, many insects, and other amphibians.

REPRODUCTION: External fertilization. The female lays egg masses of 7-30 eggs that are protected by a toxic membrane containing the same tetrodotoxin found in adults. Within 3 months, most of the larvae metamorphose into juveniles of about 2 inches (~5 cm) or slightly longer.


LONGEVITY: 12-15 years in the wild.

CONSERVATION: IUCN Red List Least Concern.

Some populations of T. torosa are threatened due to habitat destruction and the introduction of non-native predators such as mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) and crayfish. In the state of California sections of roads have been closed during the rainy season in order to protect the migrating newts.

REMARKS: These newts have relatively few predators other than man due to their highly potent tetrodotoxin. The main natural native predator is the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). It is interesting to note that some garter snakes have developed a genetic resistance to tetrodotoxin.


California Academy of Sciences Color of Life Exhibit 2015

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Caudata Culture