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The smooth newt can reach a length of 10 centimeters and is typically brown in color. During the breeding season, the males develop a continuous crest that is wavy and runs along their back. Both sexes have small black spots scattered across their yellowish-orange bellies. The spotted pattern on the throat is a useful diagnostic feature for distinguishing this species from palmate newts.
During the spring and early summer, when they are reproducing, adults can frequently be observed in ponds (February – June). The female newt produces offspring in the form of individual eggs, each of which is meticulously wrapped in a leaf of pond weed before being placed. The larvae of newts develop their front legs first, in contrast to the tadpoles of frogs and toads, which grow their back legs first.
They take in oxygen through gills that are located on the back of their heads and are covered with feathers. After they have lost their gills, juvenile newts emerge from the water in the latter summer. Invertebrates are the only food source for smooth newts, whether they are found on land or in water. They also feed on the larvae of many species of frogs. In the months outside of the breeding season, newts may be found on land and can commonly be seen in moist areas. In the summer, they can frequently be found hiding behind logs and other debris.