...one giant leap for newtkind.
Photographer Christopher Mooney took this shot of a red-spotted newt, called an "eft" while it is in the bright red, land-dwelling juvenile phase of its life, on a country road in Bovina Center on April 21.
Most amphibians have two life stages: adult and larva. The red-spotted newt, which spends the beginning and the end of its life in the water, has three. Adult red-spotted newts are sedentary beasts, spending most of their impressive 12- to 15-year lifespan in and around one small pond. But the flashy young efts ramble around on dry land for several years before settling down to become aquatic, olive-green adults.
Naturalist William Needham, the author of a series of articles called "The Hiker's Notebook," writes of the newt's prodigious navigational skills:
The red-spotted newt is capable of returning to a specific location even when removed artificially so that there is no means to establish landmarks, a capacity known as true navigation requiring both map sense and compass sense...Though the homing instinct has been demonstrated in field experiments, an understanding of the mechanism employed in its execution is lacking; it is thought to involve the use of the earth's magnetic fields, a magnetoreceptive capability.
Photo shared in the Watershed Post's Flickr group pool.