Changes in the Pattern of Nitrogen Excretion during the Life Cycle of the Newt

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Science  18 Sep 1959:
Vol. 130, Issue 3377, pp. 714-716
DOI: 10.1126/science.130.3377.714


In the course of its life cycle the eastern newt, Triturus (Diemyctylus) viridescens, undergoes two metamorphoses, the first from the aquatic larva to the terrestrial red eft; the second, 2 to 3 years later, from the eft to the permanently aquatic and sexually mature adult newt. The pattern of nitrogen exretion changes during both transformations. Older larvae excrete about 75 percent of the nitrogen as ammonia, 25 percent as urea; during the first metamorphosis the ratio of ammonia to urea is about 57:43; completely transformed efts excrete 87 percent of the nitrogen as urea. Adult aquatic newts show a partial return to the larval pattern, with an increase in the proportion of ammonia from the 13 percent typical for the eft to 26 percent, a highly significant difference.