Northern Banded Newt
Species Description: Litvinchuk, S.N., Zuiderwijk, A., Borkin, L.J., Rosanov, J.M. 2005. Taxonomic status of Triturus vittatus (Amphibia: Salamandridae) in western Turkey: trunk vertebrae count, genome size and allozyme data. Amphibia-Reptile 26: 305-323.
© 2003 Henk Wallays (1 of 41)
Distribution and Habitat
Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Armenia, Georgia, Russian Federation, Turkey
The newt lives generally higher than 1200 m above sea level, mainly in coniferous, mixed and deciduous forests up to subalpine meadows. The terrestrial habitat may be quite arid, especially in the Mediterranean part of the species range.
Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The daily activity pattern in T. vittatus is similar to that of other Triturus species. Hibernation generally occurs on land. However, males and females with nuptial coloration were found at the beginning of January in a spring (Krasnodar Region in the North Caucasus). In the Caucasus, the newts come to hibernacula in September - October. Hibernation ends in February - March at low elevations, and in April-May in the highlands. The breeding period extends from late February to July, depending on weather and altitude. In highland populations it may extend to the end of July. In warm years the newts living at low elevations remain active throughout the year. In the southern Mediterranean part of the range, where summer is dry, the seasonal activity is shifted to the wet and warm winter period, and the adults may leave the water even in February.
The males are territorial, even more territorial than other European newts of the genus Triturus. Spawning is preceded by courtship, in general similar to that of the Smooth Newt (Triturus vulgaris). Clutch contains 59-240 eggs deposited singly or in short chains. The eggs are deposited in portions of 1-53 eggs per day at 2-11 day intervals. Embryogenesis takes 12-30 days, and metamorphosis is completed after 70-150 days. In a few mountain ponds some larvae (i.e. those hatched from the last clutches) hibernate and finish their transformation the following year. Sexual maturity is attained at 3 - 5 years; maximum longevity was estimated as 8 - 21 years. After transition to active feeding, T. vittatus larvae eat microcrustaceans. Their prey spectrum later expands because of increasing numbers of molluscs and insects. Recently metamorphosed juveniles consume only terrestrial prey such as Collembola, Aphidinea, larval Hydrophilidae, Chrysomelidae and Diptera. Like other newt species during the aquatic phase, adult newts prey mainly on aquatic molluscs, crustaceans and insects. During the aquatic phase, adult T. vittatus often eat amphibian larvae. Cannibalism at nesting sites in the form of oophagy appears to be widespread, especially among females, which come into contact with recently deposited eggs more often than males. Many invertebrates and vertebrates, including some species of amphibians, are known as natural enemies of this newt.
Trends and Threats
Relation to Humans
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Written by Sergius L. Kuzmin (ipe51 AT yahoo.com), Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow
First submitted 2005-10-26
Edited by Sean Schoville (1/18/00), D. B. Wake (10/26/05) (2005-10-26)
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