Which great species? (Enewsletter April13)
Spring is an active time in the lifecycle of amphibians, including the great crested newt. They will appear from winter resting places as spring arrives and travel to ponds to breed. The males have impressive jagged ridges along their backs at this time of year and white stripes along their tail as part of their courtship. The females lack the ridge and tend to look bulkier, especially in the spring months when they are carrying eggs.
Before mating males perform an elaborate courtship dance for females. Females will go on to lay individual eggs and wrap them in pond plants for protection before they hatch two-four weeks later.
In the UK great crested newts can be found across a wide area but distribution is patchy. Their numbers have been steadily declining largely due to the loss of ponds and intensive farming destroying their habitats. They are now one of the country’s most protected species and it is illegal to kill, injure, capture, disturb or sell them or to damage or destroy their habitats. This can create problems for building developments where newts are discovered.
FSC run a range of training courses on great crested newts, as well as other reptiles and amphibians, including identification and survey techniques:
FSC courses on Reptiles and Amphibians
More about Great Crested Newts
Careers in Ecology
Images from Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust (ARC)
Thursday, April 4, 2013