Comb Newt belongs to the family of a real salamander, a detachment of caudate amphibians. This animal was first mentioned by a naturalist from Sweden C. Gesner in the middle of the 16th century, calling it a “water lizard”.
The family itself at the moment includes almost a hundred species of caudate amphibians, but only four of them are distributed in Russia. These include lizard comb newt.
Distribution and habitat of comb triton
Tritons inhabit the northern lands of Germany, Switzerland, France and Poland, and they can also be easily found in Belarus and Ukraine. From the south, the range borders on the Balkans and the Alps.
The distribution areas of the crested newt coincide with the habitat of the regular newt, although the number of the former is 5 times less, and they prefer warmer water. The crested newts inhabit mainly in forest areas of coniferous or mixed type, populating large, but not deep reservoirs overgrown with grass.
Moreover, the water in them must be clean, since the comb-tailed comb is especially selective for the purity of the water. When you meet this amphibian in a pond, be sure that the water in it is fresh.
Description and features of comb triton
By comb crest photo you can easily recognize the sex of the animal. In males, from the level of the eyes to the tail, a well-defined dentate crest flaunts. At the beginning of the tail, it is interrupted and continues again, but it has no chipping.
Females are devoid of crest and smaller than males. The length of their body varies from 12 to 20 cm, the male does not exceed 15-17 cm in size. The tail of the water lizard is slightly less, or equal to the length of the entire amphibian body.
The back and sides of the newt are covered with rough grainy skin, and on the abdomen it is soft and smooth. The lizard is painted in a dark brown color with spots, which often makes them appear almost black. A broad silver or blue stripe runs along the tail.
The ventral side and fingers, on the contrary, are bright orange with dark spots. Due to this contrasting feature, combed newts have become frequent residents of home aquariums. Description of the comb newt at odds with the description of an ordinary newt in the structure of the crest (in the latter it is solid), and the absence of a longitudinal black strip along the eyes.
Once in the water, once a week the lizard molts, and the skin is not damaged, the newt is freed from it, turning inside out. The amazing ability of the newt to change its color from a lighter shade to a darker one and vice versa is also noticed. This species is also unique in the ability to regenerate practically any part of its body, from fingers to eyes.
Lifestyles and nutrition of comb triton
A significant part of the time, the crested amphibian lives on land, and only in the spring, when the breeding season begins, completely disappears into the water. It does not tolerate open sun and heat, therefore, likes to hide under snags, in the infusion of leaves or in the shade of shrubs. During the day, the animal is active in the water, but with the onset of dusk it is selected on land, where it spends time hunting.
By the end of autumn, colds come and the newt goes into hibernation. An amphibian settles in gravel, plant rags, burying itself in moss or in burrows of rodents and moles. If people live nearby, newts calmly spend the winter in basements or in other household buildings.
Can hibernate both alone and in large concentrations of individuals. They leave their hibernation by mid-March, retaining the ability to move, even at zero readings.
When the newt swims, he presses the paws to the body, they also serve as a steering. The main “pusher” is the tail, with which the animal waves up to 10 times per second, developing considerable speed in the water.
Being a predator, the diet of the crested newt consists of larvae, beetles, slugs, crustaceans, as well as a special treat - caviar and tadpoles of other amphibians. Among adult representatives there are cases of cannibalism.
The comb newt is not distinguished by good vision, so it is difficult for him to catch live food in ponds and on land. Due to this feature, lizards are often forced to starve. In captivity, amphibians can be fed with a dry bloodworm, which is sold in any pet store. Tailed cockroaches, pipe-makers, and earthworms will not refuse.
Reproduction and longevity of comb triton
Waking up in March from hibernation, comb tritons prepare for the mating season. Their color becomes brighter, a high crest appears in the male, symbolizing the animal’s desire for fertilization.
The male courtship begins the courtship, making whistling sounds. At the same time, it is pressed by the cloaca to hard surfaces and leaves of aquatic plants, marking the territory chosen by it in this way. The female who arrived at the call is involved in an amazing dance, during which the male wriggles with his whole body, touching the tail to the head of the female, not giving her a pass.
The hot boyfriend lays in the water lumps of mucus with male reproductive cells, which the subdued chosen one takes into her cesspool. The process of fertilization is already taking place inside the body.
On average, a female newt lays 200 eggs, but sometimes the number exceeds 500 embryos. Spawning takes two to eight weeks. Several eggs, one at a time or in chains, the female sticks to the back of the leaves, leaving them open.
After a couple of weeks, larvae of 8-10 mm in size appear from the eggs. At first they starve, because at this stage the mouth has not yet formed, but the forepaws and gills, which the larva breathes before the onset of metamorphosis, are already visible. After another week, the hind limbs appear.
Like adults, the larvae are predators. Attacking from an ambush, they eat small invertebrates, and also feast on mosquito larvae. Often, the larger youth of the comb newt does not disdain to eat smaller individuals of the regular newt.
By the beginning of autumn, the metamorphosis of the larvae is completed, and they are carefully selected on land, hiding in vegetation and under snags near a reservoir. Youngsters are capable of independent reproduction upon reaching the age of three.
In the natural environment, tailed amphibians live 15-17 years, live in captivity up to 25-27 years. The triton population is rapidly declining due to the development of industry and pollution of clean waters, to which tritons are so susceptible. Entry comb newt to the International Red book and the Book of several regions of Russia became an inevitable measure in the struggle for its survival.
Description and character
The crested newts have coarse-grained, rough skin that becomes smooth closer to the belly of the animal. The water lizard can grow up to 20 cm in length. Males are always larger than females and have a peculiarity - a chic crest that begins at the eyes and continues to the tail. The serrated part of the body looks spectacular and highlights the males. In general, lizards have a dark brown body color, diluted with black spots. Also, crested newts have a characteristic wide strip of silver or blue color, which runs along the tail of the animal.
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Newts have fingers that are orange in color. A feature of amphibians is molting in water, which in no way affects the integrity of the skin. In the process of "modification", the triton, as it were, is "turned" inside out. The unique abilities of a water lizard include the ability to regenerate almost any part of its body (even the eyes). The newts have a massive and stocky body, a wide head.
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The crested newts have poor eyesight, which negatively affects the nutrition of the animal (it can starve for a long time due to the inability to catch food). About eight months a year, water lizards are on land. They are most active in the dark and can not stand the heat, the sun.
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Newts belong to those species of animals that go into hibernation in winter. They can bury themselves in moss, settle in the burrows of other animals or hide in gravel, wild vegetation. Hibernation can occur in solitude or in a small group.
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The crested newt is a predator, therefore it consumes beetles, larvae, slugs, crustaceans, caviar and tadpoles. The water lizard will not refuse also to feast on earthworms, cockroaches and pipe makers.
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Comb Newt is having lunch
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The crested newt begin to wake up closer to March. During preparation for the mating season, they change their color to brighter shades. Males raise their crest as high as possible, signaling to the female about readiness for fertilization. During courtship, the male representatives make characteristic sounds and mark the selected territory, clinging to the different parts of the cesspool. The female herself comes to the call and joins the male’s dance.
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When the connection is established, the male lays lumps in the water with its own mucus, in which male sex cells are present. The female, in turn, takes them into her cesspool and the process of fertilization begins in the body. Females are able to lay up to 200 eggs, which she attaches to the back of the leaves. The whole process lasts from 2 to 8 weeks. After a few days, the first larvae appear that starve until the mouth is developed. Then, in future cubs, gills, paws, and hind limbs appear. Larvae are also born by predators, because at first they eat invertebrates.
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Tritons spend spring and the first half of summer in reservoirs - lakes, elders, river backwaters, swamps, ponds, sometimes in ditches and pits with water. In the second half of summer, they live on land in the forest. In reservoirs, crested newts are active during the day, on land - mainly at dusk and at night, during the day they hide in the voids of the soil, under fallen tree trunks, in rotten stumps, sometimes in moleholes. Here, they often winter, but in some cases they can winter in ponds.