AmphibiaWeb - Lissotriton boscai


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Lissotriton boscai (Lataste, 1879)
Bosca's newt, Spanischer wassermolch, boscas wassermolch, tritón ibérico, tritón de Boscá, tritão-de-la-ventre-laranja, Boscas vandsalamander, hispaania vesilik, triton de Bosca, tritone di Boscá, spaanse watersalamander, espanjanvesilisko, spansk vattens
Subgenus: Meinus
family: Salamandridae
subfamily: Pleurodelinae
genus: Lissotriton
Species Description: Tourneville, A. (1879). "Description d'une nouvelle espece de batracien urodèle d'espagne (Pelonectes boscai Lataste)." Bulletin de la Société Zoologique de France 4: 69–87, 1 pl..
Taxonomic Notes: Populations in SE Portugal are genetically distinct. Raffaelli and Dubois (2009; Alytes) resurrected Lissotriton maltzani for them. Sequeira et al. (2020, J Evo Biol DOI: 10.1111/jeb.13562) studied the hybrid zone between genetic units in detail, concluding that the segment "may well qualify as a full, cryptic species" pending additional morphological and ecological studies and assessment of the strength of reproductive isolation in the hybrid zone.

© 2007 Henk Wallays (1 of 48)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status Protected by law in Spain.
Regional Status None



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (24 records).

Lissotriton boscai males have a total length up to 75 mm, and females are up to 94 mm total length. Tail length approximately equal to snout-vent length. Superficially similar to L. vulgaris or L. helveticus. Paratoids indistinct. Glandular ridges alongside the back give the newt a square-backed appearance. The skin is dry and granular during the terrestrial phase. Breeding dress is much less elaborate than in other Lissotriton species. Breeding animals lack a dorsal crest, but have a low, smooth crest along the tail, which is slightly higher in males. Lacks a stripe across the eye. Males also develop a larger protuberance at the tail tip (0.5-2mm) than females (0.5mm). The brownish, yellow or olive back is covered with a dark spotting pattern, which may be coarser in males. The orange-yellow venter is separated from the dark dorsal side by two bright whitish lateral stripes. The spotting pattern of the back can continue across the lateral bands onto the venter. Males possess a bright spot at the tail-tip.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Portugal, Spain


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
View Bd and Bsal data (24 records).
Lissotriton boscai is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. It is absent from the eastern and north-eastern parts of the peninsula. In Spain, it is distributed throughout the following regions: Galicia, Asturias, León Zamora, Salamanca and as far as Guadarrama and Toledo Mountains. Lissotriton boscai is also documented in Estremadura, Toledo, Ciudad Real and western Andalucia. Its easternmost limit is the region of Córdoba. In Portugal, Lissotriton boscai is found from the north to the south. In the south it is not as common and has been found in mountain areas. In the north it is sympatric with Triturus marmoratus, L. helveticus, Chioglossa lusitanica and Salamandra salamandra. Lissotriton boscai is more aquatic in its habits than T. marmoratus and L. helveticus. It can be found on peat moss, in running water or in deep still waters. However, it prefers small shallow ponds with vegetation. During the terrestrial stage, the animals can be found near ponds, hiding in humid and shady places, such as under roots, stones, moss and trees. It occurs from sea level up to 1500 m a.s.l. in Portugal, Serra do Gerês, Serra da Estrela, and to about 1800 m in Galicia, Spain (Gasc 1997). Noellert and Noellert (1992), however, report that the species occurs up to 1940 m in the Serra da Estrela.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The reproductive period extends from the end of November until July. The courtship takes place in water. The male positions himself in front of the female and fans water towards the female. This fanning behaviour is thought to transmit male odors to the female. This behaviour can be repeatedly interrupted by a wiggeling of the tail tip or a stance in which the male presents its cloaca by turning it toward the female and raising his tail vertically, then slowly moving it from side to side. The fanning gets faster and more powerfull, ans the male occasionally hitts the female's head with his tail. The male then slowly walks away from the female, continuing the fanning movements with his tail. The female follows and induces the male to deposit a spermatophore by touching his tail with her head. The pair then walks a bit forther until the male blocks the female's path and pushes her back over the spermatophore with his tail. A single female can produce 100-240 eggs each season. The eggs are about 2 mm across and the gelatinous envelope is somewhat oval. They are laid individually on water plants. Larvae were observed in the province of Sevilla from the end of March until June. Larvae at higher elevations may spend the winter in the water and metamorphose the next spring/summer. Larvae are up to 45 mm total length before metamorphosis, and about 30-35 mm after metamorphosis. Although they sometimes spend the entire year in the water, adults usually leave the water at the end of May and spend the summer on land. They may be active during day and night during the breeding season, then switching to nocturnal activity during the terrestrial phase. The diet consists of invertebrates of up to 9.7 mm for adults. The larvae usually eat Daphnia, and Diptera larvae (Noellert and Noellert 1992).

Trends and Threats
Lissotriton boscai is threatened in some breedings waters in Spain. Its exact status in these areas is unknown (Noellert and Noellert 1992). It is, however, protected by law in Spain. In Portugal, it is more or less common and considered not endangered (Gasc 1997).

Possible reasons for amphibian decline

General habitat alteration and loss


Gasc, J.-P. (1997). Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe. Societas Europaea Herpetologica, Bonn, Germany.

Griffiths, R.A. (1996). Newts and Salamanders of Europe. T. and A. D. Poyser, London.

Nöllert, A. and Nöllert, C. (1992). Die Amphibien Europas. Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH and Company, Stuttgart.

Stumpel-Rieks, S. E. (1992). Nomina Herpetofaunae Europaeae. AULA-Verlag, Wiesbaden.

Originally submitted by: Arie van der Meijden (first posted 2000-01-14)
Edited by: Sean Schoville (1/18/00) (2022-11-03)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 2022 Lissotriton boscai: Bosca's newt <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 26, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 26 Feb 2024.

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