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The Smooth Newt, also known as the Common Newt Triturus vulgaris, or Lissotriton vulgaris is the most common newt species of the Triturus genus of amphibians. It is found throughout Europe except the far north, areas of Southern France, and the Iberian peninsula.
Outside of the breeding season, the male and female newts are hard to distinguish - both sexes are of similar size (roughly 10cm head to tail length), and a similar pale brown to yellow colouration. Their main visible differences are two - the male newt has a single black line running down the centre of the spine, the females have two parallel lines either side of the centre. On closer inspection, one can clearly see that the male's cloaca is very distended, whilst the female's is nearly invisible. Within the breeding season, one can easily distinguish the sexes - the male is far darker than the female, with a tall wavy and transparent crest along the spine and tail, with dark spots covering the rest of the body , including the stomach area, which is a far more vivid pink or orange than it is in winter and autumn. The female also develops spots, but not on the stomach area, which is paler than the males, and theirs are generally smaller. The female does not develop crests. Paddle-like tail for increased swimming speed.
Newts are protected in Europe. There are laws prohibiting the killing, destruction, and the selling of newts. While the species is by no means endangered, IUCN lists insufficient data to make an assessment for two of the subspecies.
In the UK, the Smooth newt is protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) with respect to sale only. It is therefore illegal to sell individuals of the species, but their destruction or capture is still permitted. They are also listed under Annex III of the Bern Convention. The Smooth newt is the only newt native to Ireland and it is protected there under the Wildlife Acts [1976 and 2000]. It is an offence to capture or kill a newt in Ireland without a licence [see: www.npws.ie]. In both the UK and Ireland, the nominal subspecies is found - Triturus vulgaris vulgaris (or Lissotriton vulgaris vulgaris)
Notes taken from Wikipedia. More info here.
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