AmphibiaWeb - Lissotriton montandoni


(Translations may not be accurate.)

Lissotriton montandoni (Boulenger, 1880)
Carpathian Newt
Subgenus: Lissotriton
family: Salamandridae
subfamily: Pleurodelinae
genus: Lissotriton

© 2006 Maciej Bonk (1 of 81)
Conservation Status (definitions)
IUCN Red List Status Account Least Concern (LC)
National Status Red Data Books of the USSR and Ukraine.
Regional Status Bern Convention (Annex 2).



View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.

Small newt. Vomerine tooth series in two lines which converge anteriorly and diverge posteriorly. Three longitudinal grooves converge near the nostrils and are well-developed on the upper surface of the head. Tail length approximately equal to body with head. In the aquatic phase, the skin is smooth. In the terrestrial phase, the skin has small granules. Dorsal coloration varies from reddish-orange to dark olive-brown, almost black. Back with a median light stripe. Dorsal and lateral surfaces with dark spots and points. Belly bright orange, without pattern. Male without middorsal crest even during the breeding season. Both sexes have caudal fin folds, but they are better developed in males during the breeding season. Other male external differences include: body shape transversely more square than oval; swollen cloaca with black lips (yellow in female); small filament-like protuberance on the tail tip which remains in the terrestrial phase as a black spike ca. 1 mm length; dark upper caudal fin fold; and white longitudinal band with black points on the lower surface of the tail during the breeding season; background coloration usually darker.

Distribution and Habitat

Country distribution from AmphibiaWeb's database: Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine


View distribution map in BerkeleyMapper.
This is an endemic mountain species restricted to the Carpathians and the Tatra Mountains in Romania, western Ukraine, southern Poland, northern Slovakia and northeastern Czechia. The newt is not found in the southern Carpathians east of the Dambovita River in Romania, whereas in the southern foothills of the Ukrainian Carpathians the newt lives at its southern range margin. The northernmost locality in Ukrainian Carpathians is the Bobrko-Stolsk hilly area in the Pustomytov District, Lvov Province. To the northwest, the species reaches the Sudetes Mountains in the northern part of Moravia, where the range is divided into two parts. The Carpathian Newt inhabits wet and shaded coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests, as well as forest edges and meadow glades. It also occurs in subalpine areas. In many areas this newt is syntopic with T. alpestris, T. cristatus and T. vulgaris. With the latter species it forms hybrid populations, which are known from Romania, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. Reproduction occurs in almost all types of available water in the Carpathians including lakes, ponds, swamps, springs, puddles, ditches, overgrown stream pools and even wheel ruts in country roads. It inhabits both stagnant and semi-flowing waters. Some of these water bodies are so ephemeral (less than 1 m2, 3-5 cm in depth) that they dry even in the late spring. As a rule, the breeding sites are covered with dense herbaceous vegetation and located within or near the forest.

Life History, Abundance, Activity, and Special Behaviors
The species abundance in some places of Ukrainian Carpathians reaches 20-80 specimens per 100 m of pond shoreline, or locally as high as 18-20 specimens per 1 m2. In this area, the species population density exceeds other species of syntopic newts. The populations attain maximum density at elevations 500-750 m above sea level, apparently its optimal ecological zone in the Ukrainian Carpathians.

Daily activity is similar to that of other newts of the genus Triturus. However, terrestrial adults are active during the daytime more often than other newts. They may be found crawling on open ground in sunlight at air temperatures of +20 degrees Celsius. Hibernation starts in late October and, at low altitudes, finishes in late March to April, compared to May or early June in the highlands. Usually, reproduction peaks in May, or through June in the highlands. Courtship is most similar to that of Triturus vulgaris. Embryogenesis takes 10-15 and perhaps up to 30 days. Metamorphosis is completed after 70-90 days. Newly metamorphosed efts appear usually in the second half of July. In the highlands, larvae sometimes overwinter. After the transition to active feeding, T. montandoni larvae primarily eat microcrustaceans with a small addition of insects. Afterwards, their diet becomes richer in insects and molluscs. Juveniles use only terrestrial prey, including Oniscidae, Acarina, Pseudoscorpiones, Oniscomorpha, Simphyla and Collembola (Sminthuridae, Entomobryidae and Isotomidae). The prey of terrestrial adults is larger and more diverse including Lumbricidae, Mollusca, Lithobiomorpha, Juliformia, Coleoptera, ants, imago and larvae Lepidoptera and Diptera. Some groups of small prey used by the juveniles (Symphyla, Oniscidae, Oniscomorpha and Isotomidae) are not used by the adult newts coexisting with them. This reflects increasingly selective feeding on large prey in the newts' postmetamorphic development and a corresponding decrease of selectivity to small prey. Natural enemies of the Carpathian Newt are poorly known. Apparently, cannibalism in the form of the oophagy on nesting sites is common in the newt populations.

Relation to Humans
Triturus montandoni is an amphibian well-adopted to anthropogenic landscapes, especially in the countryside. However, some populations have declined because of habitat destruction. Reproduction in wheel ruts on country-roads leads to population declines caused by high embryonic and larval mortality in the ruts. Pollution of habitats represents another threat.


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Bannikov, A. G., Darevsky, I. S., Ishchenko, V. G., Rustamov, A. K., and Szczerbak, N. N. (1977). Opredelitel Zemnovodnykh i Presmykayushchikhsya Fauny SSSR [Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles of the USSR Fauna]. Prosveshchenie, Moscow.

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Zavadil, V. and Dandova, R. (1995). Bibliogtrafie colka karpatskeho: Fauna Bohemiae Septentrionalis 20 (Usti nad Labem).

Originally submitted by: Sergius L. Kuzmin (first posted 1999-10-06)
Edited by: Sean Schoville (1/18/00)

Species Account Citation: AmphibiaWeb 1999 Lissotriton montandoni: Carpathian Newt <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed Feb 24, 2024.

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Citation: AmphibiaWeb. 2024. <> University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Accessed 24 Feb 2024.

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