September 4, 2005
Salamander/Newt Egg-Laying and Metamorphosis
Most salamander/newt species’ eggs hatch as aquatic, gilled larvae that need a period of time in the water so they can metomorphose into adults. Unlike the tadpoles of frogs, the salamander/newt larvae have feathery, external gills on both sides of the head. Also, the front legs develop before the back ones (opposite in frogs).
In some species, the eggs develop inside the female’s body and then put into the water. In a few species, complete metomorphosis takes place inside the female’s body. When the larvae are ready, she gives birth to fully formed miniature versions of the parents on dry land. Many woodland salamander species don’t need water to lay their eggs. Instead, they lay them on land in a moist location (hollow log or under a rock). The larvae develop in the eggs and hatch as small versions of the adults.