California Newt

California newts (Taricha torosa) breed in ponds, lakes, and sometimes in slow-moving streams. Breeding occurs from February to May. California newts have been observed breeding on the Mitsui property at Dolcini Pond and in Turtle Pond. Newt balls, firm gelatinous egg masses, have been discovered by dip netting in both ponds. In July 2011, a single adult was discovered under a board at Poplar Spring. On rainy winter nights, California newts have been observed crossing roads on the property. They can also be observed swimming in Turtle Pond at most times of the year.

Adult newts can secrete a deadly toxin from their dorsal skin glands. Their brightly colored abdomens advertise their toxicity and they position their bodies to show the warning colors when harassed by potential predators. Larvae in ponds, lacking this feature, are vulnerable to predation from birds, frogs, beetles, and mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis).