Rough Skinned Newt, Taricha granulosa

The Rough-skinned Newt (Taricha granulosa) is a North American Newt notorious for the strong toxin exuded from its skin.

This is a stocky newt with a rounded snout. It ranges from light brown to olive or brownish-black on top, with the underside, including the head, tail, and legs, contrasting orange to yellow. The skin is granular but the males have smooth skin during the breeding season. They measure up to 6 to 9 centimeters from snout to vent and 11 to 18 centimeters overall. They are very similar to the California Newt (Taricha torosa) but differ in having smaller eyes, V-shaped tooth patterns, yellow colored irises, and uniformly dark eyelids. The males can be distinguished from the females during the breeding season by large and swollen vent lobes and cornified toe pads.

Preferred habitats of rough-skinned newts are found throughout the West Coast of the United States and British Columbia. Their range stretches south to Santa Cruz, California, and north to Alaska. They aren’t very common east of the Cascade Mountains, though sometimes are found as far as Montana. One isolated population lives in several ponds just north of Moscow, Idaho, and was probably introduced.

A number of subspecies have been defined based on local variants, but only two of them have wider recognition. The two recognized subspecies are Taricha granulosa granulosa, The Rough-skinned Newt and Taricha granulosa mazamae, the Crater Lake Newt.

Image Caption: A rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa). Credit: The High Fin Sperm Whale/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)