Other Amphibian of the Week

Iberian Ribbed Newt (Pleurodeles waltl)

Iberian Ribbed Newt
photo by wikiuser Pengo

Common Name: Iberian Ribbed Newt, Spanish Ribbed Newt, or Sharp-ribbed Salamander
Scientific Name: Pleurodeles waltl
Family: Salamandridae
Location: Morocco, Portugal, and Spain
Size: 1 foot (31.2 cm)

The Iberian Ribbed Newt lives in permeant and semi-permanent bodies of water such as ponds, lakes, ditches, and streams. They rarely leave the water, only leaving once the ponds start to dry up. Then, they take shelter under rocks or logs in hopes of staying moist.

The mating season varies depending on location. The mating takes place in the water. First, the male grasps the female with both hands from underneath her. Next, he releases one hand and positions himself in front of her. Then, he makes a few turns around her head and he then releases his sperm. Finally, he turns the female and she then picks it up with her cloaca. Two days later, she starts laying her eggs. Over the course of 2 – 3 days, the female lays between 150 – 1500 eggs. Neither parent provides any care for the offspring.

The Iberian Ribbed Newt is a fascinating species of newt. They have the ability to puncture their ribs out of their body with little damage to themselves. The newts do this to protect themselves from attacks from predators. They are able to survive this damage because of their regenerative abilities. Also, They regrow their limbs if they are list. The newt has also been to space at least six times. Apparently, they make a good model organism, especially in space.

Iberian Ribbed Newt
photo by Henk Wallays

Iberian Ribbed Newt Conservation

The Iberian Ribbed Newt lost large chunks of their habitat for urban development and agriculture. Additionally, they face the thread of invasive fish and crayfish that feed on their eggs. Therefore, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List classifies the newt as Near Threatened with Extinction.

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