newt


newt
/nooht, nyooht/, n.
1. any of several brilliantly colored salamanders of the family Salamandridae, esp. those of the genera Triturus and Notophthalmus, of North America, Europe, and northern Asia.
2. any of various other small salamanders.
[1375-1425; late ME newte, for ewte (the phrase an ewte being taken as a newte; cf. NICKNAME), var. of evet, OE efete EFT1]

* * *

or eft

Any of more than 40 salamander species (family Salamandridae) prevalent in the southeastern U.S. and Mexico and also found in Asia and Great Britain.

Aquatic species are called newts; terrestrial species are called efts. Newts have a long, slender body, and the tail is higher than it is wide. They eat earthworms, insects, snails, and other small animals. Both aquatic and terrestrial species breed in ponds. The three species (genus Triturus) in Britain are sometimes called tritons. The red eft (Notophthalmus viridescens) of eastern North America is bright red during its terrestrial youth, after which it becomes permanently aquatic and dull green.

Warty newt (Triturus cristatus)

Toni Angermayer

* * *

 generic name used to describe several partially terrestrial salamanders (salamander). The family is divided informally into newts and “true salamanders” (that is, all nonnewt species within Salamandridae regardless of genus). Since there is little distinction between the two groups, this article considers the family as a whole.

      Salamandridae is second in diversity to the lungless salamanders (lungless salamander) (family Plethodontidae); the family is made up of 15 genera of true salamanders and over 50 species of newts. Salamandridae has a spotty geographic distribution throughout the Northern Hemisphere and occurs from western Europe to the Urals, from southern China to Japan, on the west coast of North America, and east of the Rocky Mountains in the eastern United States. Salamandrids range from moderately slender to robust-bodied forms. All have well-developed limbs and tails. They are usually less than 20 cm (8 inches) in total length, and many are less than 10 cm (4 inches). Newts have rough skin, and the skin of many salamanders is rugose (wrinkled).

      Adults of most species lay eggs (egg) in water, and individuals pass through an aquatic larval stage before metamorphosing (metamorphosis) into adultlike body forms. Three life histories occur among salamandrids with aquatic larvae. In some genera, such as the Asian Cynops and the European Pleurodeles, the larvae metamorphose in the water, and juveniles and adults remain aquatic. In the European newts (Triturus) and western North American newts (Taricha), the larvae metamorphose into terrestrial juveniles that remain terrestrial as adults; adults return to water only for courtship and egg deposition. In the eastern North American newts (Notophthalmus), the larvae metamorphose into a terrestrial juvenile, referred to as the eft stage; efts spend two to four years on land. As they begin to mature sexually, they return to water and become aquatic as adults.

      Live-bearing salamandrids, such as the alpine salamander (Salamandra atra) and Luschan's salamander (Lyciasalamandra luschani), also exist; they retain their eggs in the oviduct and give birth to miniature adultlike offspring. A few other species lay eggs on land.

      All members of Salamandridae are toxic and have either poisonous skin or glands (gland) that secrete poison when threatened. In general, the terrestrial species, such as Taricha, and the efts of some aquatic species have the most-toxic skin secretions. Commonly, these poisonous salamanders are brightly coloured to advertise their toxicity to potential predators.

George R. Zug
 

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Newt — Logo de Newt Données clés Titre original Newt …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Newt — Título Newt Ficha técnica Dirección Gary Rydstrom Guion Gary Rydstrom, Leslie Caveny …   Wikipedia Español

  • Newt — Newt, n. [OE. ewt, evete, AS. efete, with n prefixed, an ewt being understood as a newt. Cf. {Eft}.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of several species of small aquatic salamanders. The common British species are the crested newt ({Triton cristatus}) and the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • newt — [nju:t US nu:t] n [Date: 1400 1500; Origin: an ewt, mistaken for a newt; ewt newt from Old English efete] a small animal with a long body, four short legs, and a tail, which lives partly in water and partly on land …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • newt — ► NOUN ▪ a small slender bodied amphibian with a well developed tail. ORIGIN from an ewt (from Old English efeta eft ), interpreted (by wrong division) as a newt …   English terms dictionary

  • newt — [ nut ] noun count a small animal similar to a LIZARD that mostly lives in water …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • newt — (n.) early 15c., misdivision of an ewte (see N (Cf. N) for other examples), from M.E. evete (see EFT (Cf. eft)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • newt — [no͞ot, nyo͞ot] n. [ME neute < (a)n eute < OE efeta, EFT1] any of various small salamanders (family Salamandridae) that can live both on land and in water …   English World dictionary

  • Newt — This article is about the animal. For other uses, see Newt (disambiguation). Newts Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • newt — UK [njuːt] / US [nut] noun [countable] Word forms newt : singular newt plural newts a small animal similar to a lizard that mostly lives in water …   English dictionary

  • newt —  Referring to or related to Newt Gingrich.  ► “Newt Portfolio, stocks that would do well with the policies Congressman Gingrich advocates.” (Wall Street Journal, Feb. 14, 1995, p. C1) …   American business jargon


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.