Great Crested Newts are amphibians that are predominantly found in the UK as well as certain parts of Europe. They are sometimes referred to as Warty Newt or Northern Crested Newt. Currently, their populations in Britain are under threat due to multiple factors. There are many factors that make them a unique species in the family of Salamandridae. Read on to find out more about this interesting species.
Here is a brief description of the great crested newt.
Size: Great crested newts have an average size ranging between 15 cm to 18 cm.
Color: Great crested newts are generally black or dark brown in color. The undersides of these newts are marked by bright orange coloration with black spots. Small white dots can be observed on their sides.
Throat: These newts have throats that are mottled heavily with dark pigments.
Texture: The skin of the great crested newts has a granular texture. It also has a rough and warty feel.
Toes: The toes of these newts have distinct marks with orange and black stripes. These stripes are most prominent in males than females.
Tail: They have a short tail with a tiny filament. The females have tails with yellow-orange stripe around their lower edge. The tail also has well-developed fins that are devoid of any pointed tips.
Sexual dimorphism: Male Crested Newts have jagged crest running along their back which helps in differentiating them from the females. The females are larger in size than the males.
There are 4 main sub species of this newt.
Species: T. cristatus
Scientific Name:Triturus cristatus
Great Crested Newts are extensively found in Britain, Wales and Scotland. They can also be found in various areas of Northern Europe, certain regions of Asia as well as around the Black Sea.
These newts make their homes mostly in the lowland habitats. They can be spotted in numerous large sized ponds common on farmlands. The Great Crested Newts use rough grasslands, woodlands and scrubs when they need to look for food, hibernation and shelter.
These newts are predominantly carnivorous in nature and mostly eat various types of invertebrates like leeches and mollusks.
Sometimes they also eat the larvae of certain other species. They also consume algae, small worms, protozoa and arthropods.
Have a look at the striking behavioral traits of the Great Crested Newts.
Great Crested Newts are mostly attacked and consumed by mallards, moorhens and grass snakes. Birds like herons and kingfishers also love eating them. Various types of fishes prey upon the newt larvae. Other predators include badgers, foxes, hedgehogs and rats.
Here are the most important adaptive features of these newts.
Great Crested Newts mate between the months of March and mid-July.
During mating, the males perform a courtship display to attract the females.Males also drop packet of numerous germ cells for the Great Crested Newt female to pick up.
The males then move in a way so that the females are encouraged to take a position from where the germ cells are going to get pressed against their bodies. This can make it easier for the females to pick up the germ cells with their reproductive organs.
The female typically lays about 2 or 3 eggs every day between the months of March and July. By the last week of July, the total numbers of eggs reach up to 200 or 300. The eggs are placed on the surface of the submerged aquatic plants where each egg is carefully wrapped within a leaf.
These newts make use of different types of water bodies to aide in their breeding purposes. They often mate in various kinds of ponds where they have sufficient exposure to sunlight and a lot of vegetation.
It takes about 1.5 weeks to 3 weeks for the eggs to develop fully. In the initial stages, the baby newts appear like tiny adults with fins on tail and gills.
As the baby newts grow, they lose the gills and develop lungs. There are many times when the baby and adult newts share the same space for hibernation. The grown-up newts usually leave the pond for taking shelter under the stones or logs during the day. They reach sexual maturity during the 2nd or 3rd mating season.
The Great Crested Newts hibernate between October and March and lie dormant under stones and logs. Typically requires a lot of ground for hibernation purposes, they frequently hibernate under the mud found in their breeding grounds.
Great Crested Newts typically live in the wild for about 10 years.
The Great Crested Newts are classified as “Least Concern” the IUCN. However, their population is threatened in certain parts of the world due to loss of habitat and various types of farming practices carried out by humans. Therefore Great Crested Newt legislation has been put in place to protect their population from extinction. Currently they are being protected by the European and British Jurisdiction. Great Crested Newt protection is taken very seriously. Great Crested Newt survey season may vary depending on the type of survey that is conducted.
Check out the interesting facts about these newts.
Have a look at the pictures of the Great Crested Newts.
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