Italian Crested Newt (Triturus carnifex)
The Italian Crested Newt is very similar in appearance, and closely related to, our native Great Crested Newt. Introduced animals can hybridise with Great Crested Newts and are therefore a cause for concern. Adults can grow up to 16cm and they’re generally stockier and more smooth-skinned than the Great Crested Newt. There is little or no white stippling on the flanks and they have a more intensely coloured yellow belly with big, round dark spots. Female Italian Crested Newts often have a yellow stripe down the back.
|Identification||Adults up to 16 cm in length. Very similar in appearance to the Great Crested Newt. Generally stockier and more smooth-skinned. Little or no white stippling on flanks.
More intensely coloured yellow belly than the great crested newt, with large, round dark spots.
Females often have a yellow stripe down the back.
Males develop large crest along their backs during the breeding season.
|Distribution||Non-native species. Native to southern and central Europe.|
|Ecology||A threat to the great crested newt due to interbreeding and competition for the same habitats. Prefers still waters for breeding. Active at night. Overwinter on land or in water.
Feed on invertebrates and larval/juvenile amphibians.
Emerge from overwintering in late spring.
Breeding lasts for around two months in early summer.
Males attract females with an elaborate dance.
Females lay 200-400 eggs a year.
Efts (terrestrial juveniles) emerge from ponds by the end of summer.
Adults and juveniles overwinter on land or in water.
Sexually mature at 3-4 years.
|Predators and other threats||Very similar to the Great Crested Newt and as a result shares many of the same predators. These predators include a number of birds such as Herons and ducks, snakes, and mammals such as Badgers and Hedgehogs. Fish are also major predators of the aquatic larvae of Crested Newts.
The Italian Crested Newt is listed as ‘least concern’ by the IUCN on account of the species relatively widespread distribution in Europe and fairly broad habitat requirements. However, despite this population declines have been noted in parts of the species range due to habitat loss.
N.B. The release of exotic species into the wild is a criminal offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.