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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Alpine Newt

The Alpine Newt (Triturus alpestris), belongs to the order Salamander (Urodela or Caudata) in the class of Amphibians. The spread of the alpine newt is constricted to Central Europe and mountainous Southern Europe as well as an isolated area on the Iberian Peninsula. Alpine newt typically inhabits forests with good access to water in hilly to mountainous regions. They are mostly absent in forest-poor areas. They populate well in thick deciduous forests, as well as parkland and natural gardens.

Outside the spawning season, the Alpine Newt is a land animal. During the day it stays in all kinds of undergrowth, but during the mating season in cool water (forest pools, artificial pools). After the adults come out of winter dormancy, the Alpine Newts immediately take themselves to the spawning pools.

During the mating season early in the year, the males exhibit blue coloring on their backs. Their flanks are stippled black and white, and on the belly are marked with a blue stripe. The shallow crest is alternately spotted yellow and black. The females, in water camouflage, are mottle gray-brown-green and have some weak spotting on the back. The belly side of both sexes is bright orange to vermillion and always unmarked. The biggest of the males can reach up to 3.5 inches, and the females up to 4.75 inches in length. After the mating season, older specimens have a darker, almost black, velvety skin (land camouflage).

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Alpine Newt