Taricha granulosa, commonly known as the ‘Rough Skinned Newt’, spends a longer period of time in the water than most of the salamanders of the Pacific Northwest. T. granulosa is a member of the Salamandriadae but commonly referred to as a newt. Ten genera of the Salamandridae are referred to as newts, meaning they are more or less linked to water.
In late autumn to early winter, T. granulosa heads for marshes, ponds and lakes remaining there until June or July in the lowlands, long after the breeding season has ended. Migrations of T. granulosa involve many individuals and are dangerous, especially when there are roads to be crossed. Eggs are produced singly, and laid on submerged sticks or aquatic vegetation. By late summer, the juveniles will have grown both pairs of legs and measure up to 4 cm long.
T. granulosa can grow up to 17 cm long and has a brown to blackish posterior with a yellow-orange belly. The females have rough, bumpy skin, which the males can also have skin of the same texture if they have spent an extended period of time on land. Upon returning to the water, the males skin will smooth and the tale will expand and become noticeable flatter, the orange of the underside also becomes more intense and the region of the anus is swollen.
Distribution of T. granulosa reaches south to the San Francisco Bay and north to southern Alaska. In the Pacific Northwest, it is found from the coast to mid elevations on the west slope of the Cascades, but rarely found on the east slope. There is a supspecies of T. granulosa that is found only in Crater Lake, Oregon (T. granulosa mazame).
The above photograph was taken in Burnt Woods, OR near a creek in Douglas Fir dominated woods.
Cogger, H.G., E. Gould, J. Forshaw, G. McKay and R.G. Zweifel (1993) The Encyclopedia of Animals. Fog City Press, San Francisco, CA
E.N. Kozloff (1976) Plants and Animals of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle and London.