Other Amphibian of the Week

Alpine Newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris)

photo by Richard Bartz

Common Name: Alpine Newt
Scientific Name: Ichthyosaura alpestris
Family: Salamandridae
Location: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine
Size: 4.7 inches (12 cm)

The Alpine Newt lives throughout central Europe and has been introduced to the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The newts can be found in the alpine belt in the mountains, hence their name. There are ten sub-species of them that are officially recognized.

Like most newts and salamanders, the Alpine Newt adult lives on land and only comes back to bodies of water once a year during the breeding season to mate. There are some neotenic individuals that do not lose their larval features and remain aquatic throughout their life. Mating usually takes place right after winter when the snow melts and they wake up from their hibernation.

photo by Anevrisme

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assesses the Alpine Newt as Least Concern for Extinction. The newt has a wide range and a large population throughout it. Potential problems for the species includes introduced fish species that feast upon their offspring and the draining of water bodies that they need for reproductive purposes.

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