Northern Crested Newt

(Triturus cristatus)


Northern Crested Newt IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

With its up to 18 cm it is one of the largest and most heavily built newts of the genus Triturus. Unlike the smooth or granular skin of the smaller species it has a warty skin. The back is dark brown or black, and there are numerous white points on the body flanks. The belly is usually yellow or orange, with large black blotches or spots. The males develop a high, toothed, crest extending from the level of the eyes to the Tip of the tail during the breeding season (crest of the tail not toothed) and a white band along each side of the tail. Hibernation usually starts in October to November and finishes in February to May. During oviposition the female of the Northern Crested Newt tucks each egg or a few eggs into a leaf. Clutch consists of 70-600 (usually 150-200) eggs. Embryogenesis takes 12 to 20 days. Just after hatching, the larvae live on the bottom, on aquatic plants, or other substrates. Afterwards, they switch to a mainly pelagic life after developing high fin folds, caudal filaments and long toes and fingers. These structures are reduced at metamorphosis and the larvae become benthic. The larval development is longer than many other newts (about 2.5-3 months or more). Metamorphosis occurs in late summer and autumn (when the larvae are already 45 to 70 mm long). Many larvae however hibernate and complete their transformation in the next year. Most adult newts leave the water for terrestrial habitats in late summer, though some remain in the water all year round. They eat earthworms, slugs, insects and their larvae and during the aquatic phase additionally Mollusca, microcrustaceans as well as eggs and larvae of other ambhibia.

Did you know?
that T. cristatus can also breed with T. marmoratus, and natural hybrids (once referred to as T. blasii) occur at the overlap of the range of T. marmoratus and T. cristatus in northwestern France. About half of the developing larvae die before hatching, due to an inherited mortality (special constellation of the biggest pair of chromosomes). In this species fish (in particular also introduced specimens) and certain water living insects pose a significant threat, being more harmful for T. cristatus than for other newt species because its larvae spend a great deal of time in the water column (instead of the bottom), where the frequency of encounters with fish and predatory insects is higher. Thus only about 5 % of the hatchlings reach metamorphosis and leave the water in autumn.


Name (Scientific) Triturus cristatus
Name (English) Northern Crested Newt
Name (French) Triton crêté
Name (German) Kammmolch
Name (Spanish) Tritón crestado
Local names Croatian: Velki vodenjak
Czech: Colek velký
Dutch: Kamsalamander
Estonian: Harivesilik
Italian: Tritone crestato
Rumansh: Piutscha crestada
Slovenian: Veliki pupek
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed


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Photo Copyright by
Rainer Theuer



Range Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Islamic Republic of, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, i. e. the whole of mainland Europe and Great Britain, with the exception of southwest France, Spain and Portugal (where they are replaced by the closely related Marbled newts, T. marmoratus and T. pygmaeus) and northern Scandinavia.
Habitat It lives in coniferous, mixed and deciduous forests, their glades and edges, in bushlands, meadows, parks and gardens up to 1100 m. In southern areas, populations of this newt live in insular forests and in the landscapes of dense vegetation of flooded valleys. It prefers medium to large, well vegetated, still or slow-flowing, not isolated, clean water bodies.
Wild population Triturus cristatus seems to be a declining species, like the majority of other European amphibians in particular due to anthropogenic influences, mainly habitat destruction. Its decline may be especially related to its high requirements to water quality at larval stages. Due to the decreases in wild populations, all of the crested newt species are protected by the European Habitats and Species Directive 1992. This requires European states to protect the species in the wild, and to regulate trade of wild caught animals. Therefore, to avoid depleting wild populations, captive bred stock should be purchased in preference to wild-caught.
Zoo population 41 specimens (including the nominate form,carnifex and karelini reported to ISIS (2007).

In the Zoo

Northern Crested Newt


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 45 or 51 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Christian Fischer

Why do zoos keep this animal

Zoos and aquariums keep crested newts for educational reasons. They may serve as an ambassador species for the conservation of amphibians and their habitats, and ex-situ breeding for the purpose of reintroduction may be advisable in a number of cases: as crested newts do not easily spread in the wild, zoo-bred animals may be a source for populating new or abandoned breeding ponds.