As we approach the end of summer the juveniles of our rarest and largest native newt will be going through metamorphosis. They may begin to emerge from their pond in August or in following months depending on their development.
Great crested newt larvae will spend more time at the deeper areas of a pond as they reach the end of their development period and their swimming ability is reduced. Larvae develop best in warmer waters, metamorphosis can be slowed in cooler conditions and in ponds that are shaded. Larvae develop whilst feeding on a variety of prey items in the pond including a range of aquatic invertebrates and amphibian larvae.
Great crested newt larvae can reach sizes of 50 – 90mm before undertaking metamorphosis – when they become suited to life in and out of the pond. The great crested newt’s skin develops glands during metamorphosis, containing toxins making them unpalatable to most predators. By September onwards newts will begin seeking areas to overwinter in – seeking shelter from the weather during the colder months. However it’s not impossible to see great crested newt larvae in the pond during winter if development was slowed down.