Wriggling balls of Sierra Newts put on amazing display in crystal clear waters of Yosemite.
Late winter/early spring in Yosemite National Park is breeding season for one of the most colorful and distinctive creatures in the wild. Sierra newts gather in large numbers in the crystal clear pools of Yosemite to do the work of continuation of the species. The little salamanders congregate in water to do their business, as do all amphibians. The males show up first and undergo a few physical changes before the females arrive. Among other things, they develop more fin-like tails as well as special female-gripping pads on their feet.
When the female newts show up a couple weeks later the anxious males surround them, forming orange and rust-colored wiggling masses as the males jockey to secure themselves to a female. The lucky guy who wins the battle then uses those padded feet to hold on tightly as the two swim away to do the business of procreation.
It’s quite a scene, as this footage reveals.
The striking orange underbelly of the sierra newt is another interesting trait of these creatures. It is a warning to would-be predators that the newt is toxic. The sierra newts dramatically display their orange leave-me-alone sign by arching their backs to better reveal the neon color under their tails and chins. Perhaps you’ll agree that the colors seem particularly vivid in the clear waters of Yosemite.