Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
A relatively small newt with a pair of dorsolateral red stripes that extend nearly the full length of the body and tail, tending to break up on the head and tail. Stripes may be bordered with black. Short red stripes or spots may occur on the sides, and a light (not red) middorsal stripe may be present. Dorsal ground color is dark brown to olive green, sometimes with black specks. Ventral color is yellow with black specks. Dorsal and ventral colors are sharply demarcated. Adults are 2.7-4.1 cm snout to vent length (5.2-7.9 cm total length). Adult males have an orange-colored gland cluster on the posterior edge of the vent opening. Larvae are pond type with broad dorsal fins, bushy gills, and balancers when they first hatch (8 mm total length). Hatchlings have dark lateral bands that fade, being replaced by a series of light dashes on the sides as larvae mature. The juvenile eft stage is similar in color to adults, but ground color is dull orange dorsally and the skin is rougher in appearance. Some populations have both metamorphosed and gilled adults. Gilled adults are similar in coloration to metamorphosed adults, with red stripes or spots. Description from Mecham (1967), Christman and Means (1992), and Petranka (1998).
Genetically, N. peristriatus is more closely related to N. meridionalis than to N. viridescens (Reilly 1990).