If you are afflicted with any doubt that a newt's fancy turns to love this time of year, you'll find a cure in a UC Berkeley video showing the aquatic amphibians in the throes of passion at the campus Botanical Garden.
"For a front-row view of a biological spectacle, newt love, there’s no better spectator stand than the banks of the UC Botanical Garden’s Japanese Pool, and no better time than now," says a campus news release issued Monday, the same day that Cal posted its "Newt Love at UC Berkeley" video on YouTube.
Did you know that the forelimbs of newt males bulk up when it's time to mate?
"...All to better climb onto and arouse a female, then deposit their sperm in the pool," the campus release says. "From there the females take over, gathering up the sperm and laying fertilized eggs (singly or as gelatinous sacs of multiple eggs, depending on the species), which hatch as four-legged babies."
The notice adds that newts live up to 20 years, which is not surprising given that they are poison to enemies. "They’re one of the most toxic animals in the world,” according to garden director Paul Licht, a zoologist who's been studying the creatures for decades.
"To witness the newts having tons of fun, visit the Japanese Pool during garden hours," the campus notice says.
If you visit on Sunday or Monday, Feb. 17 or 18, garden docents will be on hand to explain the amphibious amours.