Shawnee State Forest. This lake, and the others, plays host to scores of one of our most interesting salamanders. I visited this site last Sunday with John Howard and Mary Ann Barnett and we, quite naturally, spent some time working with these animals, and documenting them on our pixel-making machines.
In their juvenile stage, which can last several years, Red-spotted Newts look very different than this, and are known as Red Efts. You can see photos and read about efts RIGHT HERE. When the brightly colored eft matures and transforms to an adult newt, it slips into the drink and becomes nearly as aquatic as a fish, as we shall see. On occasion, adult newts make short peregrinations from their pond during wet weather, as this one had done, but for the most part they remain in deep permanent water.
Newts can operate with relative impunity in waters such as this, without fear of being preyed upon by voracious fish such as bass or bluegill. Their immunity stems from a toxic chemical defense system. Red-spotted Newts are infused with tetrodotoxin (TTX), which is the same stuff that would have you regretting (briefly) wolfing down a poisonous puffer fish. Apart from a suite of marine animals such as puffer fish, the only other group of animals known to carry TTX are amphibians. About 28 species in 10 genera - frogs, toads, salamanders - have been found to harbor TTX, and to date no antidote has been discovered to combat TTX poisoning. So, please avoid swallowing newts and their attendant neurotoxins. To do so would bring on severe muscular paralysis, and possible death, and neither of those things makes for a good field trip.
Newts don't become sexually mature until three years of age, and once adulthood is reached and they're in the breeding ponds, they can probably live a long life. It's possible that newts can live for ten or twenty years, maybe even longer.