Danube crested newt
Triturus dobrogicus

The Danube crested newt or Danube newt (Triturus dobrogicus ) is a species of newt found in central and eastern Europe, along the basin of the Danube river and some of its tributaries and in the Dnieper delta. It has a smaller and more slender body than the other crested newts in genus Triturus but like these, males develop a conspicuous jagged seam on back and tail during breeding season.

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For half of the year or longer, adults live in slow-flowing river margins, lakes, or ponds, where reproduction takes place. Males perform a courtship display, and females lay around 200 eggs individually onto leaves of aquatic plants. Larvae develop two to four months in the water before reaching metamorphosis. For the remainder of the year, the newts live in shady land habitats, usually forests. Although not yet considered threatened, Danube crested newt populations have declined significantly, the reason being mainly habitat loss. The species is protected by law in the European Union.

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Measuring 13 to 15 centimetres (5.1 to 5.9 in) long in total, sometimes up to 18 centimetres (7.1 in) in females,: 345  the Danube crested newt is the smallest crested newt species. It has a more slender, elongate body than the other species, well adapted to swimming, with a narrow head and relatively short limbs. This body shape has evolved through an increase in the number of rib-bearing vertebrae: there are 16–17 of them in T. dobrogicus, the highest number among the crested newts.: 10–14 

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The Danube crested newt's back and sides are dark brown with black spots and white stippling. The belly is orange to red (in other crested newts, it is usually yellow or orange–yellow), with small or medium-sized black blotches that have sharp edges. Like all crested newts, T. dobrogicus males develop a crest on their back and tail during breeding phase, which can be quite high and jagged, usually starts between the eyes and nostrils, and is interrupted at the tail base. Another feature of males at breeding season is a bluish-white stripe along the tail.: 10–14 : 345  Females can sometimes have a yellow stripe along the back, similar to the Italian crested newt (T. carnifex ).: 345 

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Danube crested newt habitat map
Danube crested newt
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Habits and Lifestyle

Danube crested newts have the longest aquatic phase in the genus Triturus. Adults move to their breeding sites in February or March and usually stay there for six months; occasionally, they may even stay longer or return to the water in autumn.: 44 : 144–145  Males court females with a display of ritualised body movements. When they have gained the female's interest, they guide it over a spermatophore they deposit on the ground, which the female then takes up with her cloaca.: 80–89  The eggs are fertilised internally. As in other crested newts, a female lays around 200 eggs per season, which are folded individually into leaves of aquatic plants. Eggs and larvae are smaller than in the other crested newt species, and they take longer (two to four months) until they reach metamorphosis and leave the water.: 61–65 : 345 

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Both in water and on land, the newts are largely nocturnal. In their aquatic habitats, they hide under vegetation, and on land, they use structures such as logs, rocks, or small animal burrows for cover.: 47–48, 58  They feed mainly on different invertebrates, but in the water may also prey on tadpoles and smaller newts.: 58–59  Predators include herons and other birds, snakes such as the grass snake, and various carnivorous mammals.: 78 

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Diet and Nutrition



1. Danube crested newt Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danube_crested_newt
2. Danube crested newt on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22216/9366668

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