This species is endemic to the Iberian Peninsula where it is distributed in central and southern Portugal and the southern half of Spain, from sea level to 1,450 m asl.
Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits broadleaf (Quercus oak) woodland in meso-Mediterranean and thermo-Mediterranean climates. Aquatic habitats used for breeding and larval development include temporary or permanent ponds, lagoons, abandoned quarries and wells, drinking troughs, irrigation ponds, ditches and other areas of stagnant or slow-moving water. It is found in traditional farmland areas and other slightly modified habitats.
It is common in areas where suitable siliceous substrate habitat exists. There has been a significant decline in the populations of southern and eastern Spain (those found on a calcareous substrate).
The most significant threat to this species overall is habitat loss, especially the loss of temporary ponds. In the west of Spain and southern Portugal populations are affected by predation by non-native crayfish and predatory fish. Increasing urbanization surrounding Madrid has also led to the elimination of many populations. In southern and eastern Spain, over-exploitation of groundwater resources, agrochemical pollution, loss of traditional breeding sites and the introduction of predatory non-native fish and crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) has led to a serious population decline. In Portugal this species is also affected by the drainage of temporary ponds, associated with the intensification of agriculture.
It is present in Parque Nacional de Cabañeros and Parque Nacional de Doñana, Spain, and is presumed to occur in some Portuguese protected areas. Re-introductions and/or translocations of this species have been made in the area of Madrid, Spain. This species is listed on Annex III of the Bern Convention, and is protected by national and sub-national legislation in Spain. It is considered Vulnerable on the Spanish Red List.
Red List Status
Near Threatened (NT)
Listed as Near Threatened because this species is in significant decline, but probably at a rate of less than 30% over ten years over its entire range, because of widespread habitat loss through much of its range, thus making the species close to qualifying for Vulnerable.
Arntzen, J., Beja, P., Bosch, J., Tejedo, M., Lizana, M., Jehle, R., Martinez Solano, I., Salvador, A., García París, M., Recuero Gil, E., Márquez, R., Sá-Sousa, P. & Díaz-Paniagua, C. 2009. Triturus pygmaeus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T59479A86629251. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T59479A11929974.en