Endemic to a small range in southeastern Georgia and northeastern Florida, the striped new is olive brown in color with dark red stripes along the back. These newts breed during the late winter when they return to temporary ponds. This species can occur as an eft, or a terrestrial juvenile state of the lifecycle. Efts can be identified by their bright coloring, indicative of their toxicity to predators. Striped newts can also present in a paedomorphic, or extended juvenile, form that remains in the water.
The striped newt inhabits the fire-maintained, sandy-soiled habitats found in its southeastern range, including pine sandhills and scrub. This species prefers ephemeral wetlands for breeding habitat because these temporary ponds lack the predators found in permanent bodies of water.
As a species with a small range, the striped newt is highly vulnerable to habitat fragmentation and loss. While not directly linked to climate change at present, additional habitat fragmentation is likely to intensify in many areas as a changing climate begins to drive shifts in land use. This species is also highly vulnerable to changes in precipitation patterns and hydrology. This threat is magnified by the newt’s small range – one or two seasons of intense drought and loss of ephemeral wetlands could spur significant population decline in this species. Fire suppression and altered fire regimes linked to the impacts of climate change could also threaten striped newt habitat.
More information about general climate impacts to species in Florida.
The overall vulnerability level was based on the following assessment(s):
The primary factors contributing to vulnerability of the striped newt are alterations to biotic interactions and disturbance regimes.