|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|This is a male smooth newt (the mate for the female newt posted previous) in breeding colours.|
The smooth newt is small and slender (length up to 4 in [11 cm]). The tail constitutes approximately one-half the total length. In the terrestrial phase, this newt is brown or dark gray.
The habitat is variable, including woodland, grassland, parkland, hedgerows, gardens, heath, and moorland. The smooth newt breeds in small ponds.
The skin secretions of smooth newts are distasteful rather than toxic and provide little defense against predation. The newts are eaten by birds and other animals.
The smooth newt feeds on a wide variety of small invertebrates (chironomides larvae in this photo) and on frog tadpoles.
Smooth newts return to ponds to breed in early spring and remain aquatic for several months. This species, like other Triturus species, exhibits marked sexual dimorphism during the breeding season. The male develops a high dorsal crest that runs along the back and tail. This crest has a jagged edge and, like the rest of the body, is marked with large, dark spots. Parallel stripes of red and blue decorate the lower edge of the male's tail, just behind the greatly swollen and dark cloaca. The toes on the hind limbs of the male develop flaps of skin. These flaps help the male swim fast in pursuit of females.
Females lay several hundred eggs during the breeding season. Each egg is laid individually, carefully wrapped in a folded leaf. The eggs hatch into tiny carnivorous larvae, which grow over the summer months to leave the water in late summer at a length of approximately 0.8 in (2 cm). The offspring spend the next two or three years on land before they return to breed as mature adults.
Camera: Nikon E8800
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