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Palmate Newt


Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus) - This is a large, dark species of newt which grows to about 14cm including its tail. Its skin is strongly granular and is the reason why it is also known as the Warty Newt. The upper side of the animal is brownish or greyish with darker spots and never has any green colouration. The belly is usually yellow, orange or reddish- orange, strongly blotched with black or dark grey. In females, the lighter belly colour continues along the underside of the tail. Males develop a high zig-zag crest which extends along the length of the body. The tail develops a smoother- edged crest and has a light stripe along each side. The range of this species covers most of Europe (but not Iberia , S. and S.W. France, S. Greece , Ireland and islands in the Mediterranean ) and part of west Asia . The four sub-species are found in different parts of the total range.

T. c. cristatus is the most widely-distributed one, occurring over most of the northern parts of the range. It is found in Britain , Scandinavia , and as far south as the Alps . The east to west range is extensive, from central and east France to central Russia .

T.c. carnifex is found in Italy south of the Alps , parts of Austria and N. Yugoslavia .

T.c. karelinii occupies the south easterly parts of the of the Balkans and S.W. Asia .

T.c. dobrogicus has a small range occupying the general area of the Danube basin.

It is found from sea level to about 2,000m, being a more montane species in the south of the range.

ECOLOGY: Most individuals hibernate on the land and enter the water in the spring time. After a courtship display, the male deposits a spermatophore which is then taken up by the female. The female lays some 200-300 eggs singly, and usually enclosed in a folded leaf or grass stem. The larvae are voracious feeders eating any invertebrates (such as the larvae of may flies, caddis flies, chironomids, and mosquitoes, water fleas, water shrimps, water lice, tadpoles and worms) which are small enough to swallow. Metamorphosis takes place after about four months. Breeding sites include water-filled pits, ponds, small lakes etc., with good weed growth. Although they seem to prefer still water, sometimes slow-moving water may be used.The newt may be thought of as a woodland species as it is very much at home in deciduous woodland, although by no means confined to such habitat. Outside of the breeding season they may be found near the ponds or in woodland hiding under logs, stones and so forth. Adults eat earth worms, slugs, caterpillars etc..












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