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Lissotriton helveticus - Palmate Newt

Phylum: Chordata - Class: Amphibia - Order: Caudata - Family: Salamandridae

Palmate Newt

Picture courtesy of the Countryside Council for Wales

This little amphibian is tolerant of acid waters and so it is the most common newt species on heath and moorland, where it breeds in shallow ponds and other small waterholes in the springtime.

Identification

This is the smallest of the three newt species found in the wild in Britain. (At 6cm in length when fully mature, it is only slightly smaller than the Common Newt.) Note the skin between the toes of the Palmate Newt - the feet are rather like palms of the hand, from which this amphibian gets its common name.

Distribution

Palmate Newts are reasonably common in Britain, although they are not as plentiful as the Common Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris). If you live in an acid soil area and you have a garden pond with shallow, weed-fringed margins, there is a very good chance that this species will move in from the surrounding countryside.

Food

Once they leave the water towards the end of July they feed on worms and other invertebrates, although they do also capture flying insects that have alighted on the waterside vegetation.

Predators

Palmate Newts are eaten by many kinds of animals including Grass Snakes as well as Grey Herons and other water birds.

Lifecycle

Palmate Newts hybernate emerge from hibernation in March, and they breed soon afterwards. Towards the end of September, Palmate Newts find dense leaf litter and there they hibernate until the following spring. Apparently able to cope fairly well in dry conditions, Palmate Newts sometimes wander a long way away from any ponds or streams. In contrast, Common Newts tend to turn up nearly always in fairly damp locations

Reference Sources

Matching the Hatch - buy online here...

Matching the Hatch by Pat O'Reilly (2017) - learn all about aquatic insects and other small water creatures that feature in the diet of newts.


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Wild Orchids of the AlgarveAlgarve Wildlife, the natural yearWildflowers in the Algarve