Table of contents:
- The size
- Life span
- Breeding season / period:
- Courtship ritual
- Benefit / harm to humans
- Population / conservation status
Video: Crested Newt (Triturus Cristatus)
The crested newt, or the warty newt, or the northern crested newt (Triturus cristatus) is the largest of the domestic newts. The skin is rough, coarse, smooth on the belly. It inhabits large, but shallow forest water bodies with rich vegetation. Due to poor eyesight, he cannot catch an agile animal, therefore he often starves. In the water it hunts for large aquatic insects and their larvae, mollusks, tadpoles, fish eggs, amphibians. Reproduction and development of larvae occurs in water.
Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia (Georgia), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Islamic Republic of Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Moldova, Republic of the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia. In the mountains it rises up to 2000 m above sea level (in the Carpathians - up to 1450 m, in the Alps - up to 1100 m).
Crested newt, male in breeding plumage
The crested newt is the largest of the domestic newts. His skin is rough, coarse-grained, and smooth on the belly. It is found 5-6 times less often than an ordinary newt. The head is broad and flattened, the body is massive and stocky. The ridge is serrated, extending from eye level, interrupted at the base of the tail. The tail is shorter or equal to the length of the body. The series of vomer teeth in the newt are symmetrical, slightly curved in length, the proximal ends are slightly approached, the distal ends are slightly divergent. The muzzle of the males is rounded, the cloaca is convex and dark, and the tail has a longitudinal bluish-white stripe. In females, the crest is absent, a thin yellow line runs along the back, the cloaca is flattened and reddish. The length of the skin capillaries is 73% of the total length of the capillaries of the entire respiratory surface.
The back and sides are black or brownish-black with dark spots. There are numerous white dots on the sides of the body. The throat is black (sometimes yellowish) with white specks. The belly is orange. Newts are able to change color - it becomes lighter, then darker.
Total body length up to 153 mm (body length 82 mm).
Related article Contents of the crested newt (Triturus cristatus)
In captivity, newts live up to 27 years.
The crested newt is able to creak, squeak and emit a dull whistle, systematically repeating at short intervals.
Large, but shallow water bodies with rich vegetation. Forest view. It lives in coniferous, mixed and deciduous forests (pine, birch, oak, alder), in glades and forest edges, in thickets of bushes, in meadows, parks and gardens. In the south, the crested newt is sometimes found in polluted water bodies. In the northern regions, it is very sensitive to water quality and does not live in shallow, overgrown bodies of water.
Enemies include: humans, snakes, herons, storks. The larvae are hunted by fish.
Due to poor vision, the crested newt cannot catch an agile animal, therefore it often starves. With the help of the lateral line organs, it can detect small amphipods only when they swim up to its face at a distance of one centimeter. Newts easily recognize familiar "game" by smell. In the water it hunts for large aquatic insects and their larvae, mollusks, tadpoles, fish eggs, amphibians. Cannibalism is sometimes encountered among adult crested newts. On land, the crested newt rarely feeds, at night, eating earthworms, slugs, insects and other species of newts.
The crested newt spends most of its life on the shore, spends the spring and part of the summer months in the water (about 4 months). In rainy weather, it leaves the reservoir and hunts on the shore. In water, it is active mainly during the day. In water, it sheds every 7-10 days, the shed skin remains intact, only turned inside out. On the shore, it is active at twilight and at night, and during the day it hides in a leaf litter, under rotten tree trunks, in dense turf, holes with sand, mole passages and rodent burrows. Doesn't like light, sun, can't stand heat. With the onset of cold weather, when the air temperature drops to 4-6 ° C (October - early November), it goes for the winter. Does not lose mobility at temperatures slightly above 0 ° C. The newt hibernates singly, in groups, sometimes in massive clusters (several tens or up to a hundred individuals): in rotten stumps, mole holes, cellars,in non-freezing streams with spring water. Comes out of hibernation in March-May. It swims, pressing its paws to the sides, using them as a rudder. The translational movement is reported by the tail. The newt waves them 2-12 times a second. This allows the newt to move at a speed of 10-77 cm per second.
Reproduction and development of larvae occurs in water (standing, semi-flowing ponds, lakes, flooded quarries, irrigation canals and ditches). Mating games begin when the water temperature reaches + 6 ° C. Males are the first to go into the water. Each male chooses his site, for example, a stone, driftwood, a bunch of algae. The male marks his territory by pressing his cloaca against stones and plants - these marks are necessary to attract the female. Fertilization in crested newts is internal. The clutch contains 60-800 (usually about 200) oval unpigmented eggs. The spawning process lasts from two weeks to two months. The female lays eggs singly or in short chains of 2-3 eggs (width up to 2.5 mm, length up to 4.5 mm) to the lower surface of the leaves and do not pack them.
Breeding season / period:
The breeding season is in March-May.
Crested newt larva
Maturation occurs by the age of 3 years.
As soon as the female appears, the male begins to signal her with his tail, inviting her to his site. Having found the marks and making sure that the male is behaving kindly, she perks up, moves her head excitedly, opens and closes her mouth, makes sharp turns. The male sniffs it, shows its tail and starts the mating dance, which consists of special movements of the trunk and tail. The male circles around the female, follows her, stands upside down, then makes a strong jerk with its tail. After that, the female relentlessly follows the male, fascinated by the movements of his tail. The male newt lifts its tail upward and deposits a spermatophore. The female crawls over him, grabs the edges of her cloaca, and the mating act is over. Courtship dances can take place: at the bottom, on underwater plants and in the water column.
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Egg incubation lasts 2 weeks.
Immediately after hatching, the larvae remain on the bottom, aquatic plants or other substrate. The size of the newt larvae is 9-10 mm. The first day the larvae do not feed, since they do not yet have a mouth, but they already have the rudiments of the forelimbs and external gills and balancers. After 3 weeks, the hind limbs develop. On the sides of the body there are 11-12 transverse grooves. The tail is longer than the body and ends with a thin thread. In the first days of life, they breathe with gills, they switch to pulmonary respiration to metamorphosis. The larvae are predators, feeding on insects and small invertebrates (daphnia, small crustaceans, mosquito larvae 7-10 mm in size), large larvae of the crested newt sometimes eat the larvae of other species of newts. The larvae attack the prey because of an ambush. Development lasts 2-3 months. The metamorphosis ends in July-September. Newts emerge on land 5-8 cm long. Coming out of the reservoir,young newts keep near him, hiding under lying objects (snags, etc.).
Benefit / harm to humans
Both larvae and adult newts by the destruction of mosquito larvae bring great benefits to humans.
Population / conservation status
The crested newt is listed in the Red Data Books of Russia, Latvia, Tatarstan and Lithuania. In Western Europe it is protected by the Berne Convention (Appendix II).
Interesting: the skin secretions of newts have caustic properties.