by Elizabeth Ryan
tiny larvae, only a half inch long,
hatch from eggs laid in lakes, ponds, and marshes.
Feathery gills for breathing sprout from the top of their heads.
Four delicate little legs with teeny tiny feet
and a broad flat tail for swimming.
They dine on Zooplankton,
aquatic larvae and insects,
preparing for their Metamorphosis in the fall,
leaving their aquatic homes to become terrestrial.
Gills are replaced by lungs; flat broad tail becomes round and narrow.
Their skin changes from a black-spotted yellow-brown to a bright orange.
Bright orange bodies with red spots encircled by black,
and smaller black spots, dot their bodies.
At this stage of his life, the immature newt is a Red Eft.
The bright orange body of the Red Eft,
a warning to predators,
Beware I’m Toxic if you eat me.
He lives under leaf litter, in deciduous and coniferous forests,
eating insects and snails, growing to around three inches long.
You might spot him walking across the forest floor as you hike in the park.
They are terrestrial about three to four years,
but they could live on land up to seven.
During the winter, they hibernate under rocks or logs.
At maturation, Red Efts transform back into aquatic creatures.
They retain their lungs, and breathe oxygen the rest of their lives,
but their tails return to broad and flat for swimming.
Upper bodies become olive green still with red spots encircled in black,
Underbellies are a yellow-green with black spots.
They sometimes return to the place where they hatched.
The newt’s diet is insects, leeches, crustaceans,
small amphibians and fish.
The little critters grow up to five inches long.
Late winter, early spring, the adult newts mate.
The female lays her eggs on aquatic plants,
and the cycle repeats.
An interesting fact of the red Spotted Newt,
a large population,
indicates a healthy eco-system.
American BeaverKatie Daley
Painted TurtleRebekah Ainsworth
Green DarnerMarion Boyer
Eastern Screech-OwlDr. R. Ray Gehani
Spring PeeperBarbara Sabol
Eastern Carpenter BeeSylvia Clark
Jacob's LadderRisha Nicole
Candleflame LichenClara Britton
Eastern NewtElizabeth Ryan
American BullfrogLaura Grace Weldon
American ChestnutCarrie George
American GoldfinchMarybeth Cieplinski
American Giant MillipedeMary Quade
American HornbeamJeff Gundy
American White WaterlilyGeoffry Polk
Artist’s BracketSusann Moeller
Banded Fishing SpiderCharlie Malone
Common Star-of-BethlehemBrita Alaburda
Common StonefliesKaren Schubert
Eastern ChipmunkNathan Kemp
Eastern Tent Caterpillar MothZachary Thomas
Eastern Red-backed SalamanderTovli Simiryan
Firefly BeetleJacquie Peoples Dukes
Gray CatbirdTheresa Brightman
Great MulleinLaurie Kincer
Green HeronPaula J. Lambert
Interrupted FernKathleen Cerveny
Meadow VoleRoberta Jupin
Monarch ButterflyDeborah Fleming
Pearl CrescentMonica Kaiser
Poison HemlockJon Conley
Red-Headed Ground BeetleBob King
Star JelliesCameron Gorman
Sugar MapleSteve Brightman
Turkey VultureLaura Grace Weldon
White-footed MouseMichelle Bissell
White-tailed DeerBenjamin Rhodes
Wild CarrotJessica Jones
Traveling Stanzas community arts projects bring poetry to people’s everyday lives through innovative methods and digital platforms.