© Joseph Dougherty. All rights reserved.
A mating aggregation, or "mating ball," of newts in a shallow stream. I counted more than 15 at one point, all clumped together in a giant orgy.
Reproduction occurs generally between December and early May. Typically the adult newts will return to the pool in which they hatched. After a mating dance, the male mounts the female and rubs his chin on her nose. He then attaches a spermatophore to the substrate, which she will retrieve into her cloaca.
The egg mass released by the female contains between 7 and 30 eggs, and is roughly the consistency of a thick gelatin dessert. Typically the egg masses are attached to stream plant roots or to rocky crevices in small, slow moving pools. But they have also been known to be attached to underwater rocks or leaf debris. While shallow in a wide sense, these pools are rather deep relative to the average depth of a Southern California stream, varying in depth from about 1 to 2 meters.
Adult newts will stay in the pools throughout the breeding season, and can be occasionally found well into the summer. Larvae hatch sometime in early to mid summer, depending on local water temperature. Larvae are difficult to find in streams as they blend in well with the sandy bottom