The Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus)
The Great Crested Newt is the biggest domestic type of newts with up to 18 cm (outside of Germany up to max. 20 cm). Beside the size, the yellowish-orange colored belly, that is speckled with black stains, is a conspicuous feature. In contrast, the upper side is dark brown to blackish colored rather inconspicuously. Very typical is also the high serrated back comb of the male animals, which gives the species its name and is interrupted in front of the less serrated tail comb. The male animals have a conspicuous silvery band on the sides of their tails.
The Great Crested Newt occurs almost area-wide in completely Central Europe from France over Great Britain up to Russia. In Germany, it is, with exception of the northwest coast, almost widespread.
© DGHT registered association. (Ed. 2014): Dissemination atlas of amphibians and reptiles in Germany, based on data from the federal state authorities, expert working groups and NABU federal state expert committees of the federal states as well as the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.
The Great Crested Newt lives in predominantly deeper standing waters like ponds or ponds with a distinctive underwater and shore vegetation. These structures are particularly important for the larvae of the Great Crested Newt. Due to the high structural diversity, a large number of other amphibians often occur in these waters in addition to the great crested newt.
Between March and April the Great Crested Newts migrate to their spawning grounds. A female can lay up to several hundred eggs. The eggs are relatively large compared to other newt species and - in contrast to the other newt species common in Germany - have a whitish light yellow egg cell. They are laid down individually and attached to the leaves of various aquatic plants with the help of the hind legs. After about 15 days the larvae hatch and develop into crested newts with a size of 4.5 to 7 cm within the next two to four months.
The loss of small water bodies due to filling within the framework of economic interests and settlement expansion, as well as the input of waste, fertilizers and environmental toxins are the most important hazards of the great crested newt. In addition, there are frequent losses due to road traffic, especially when migrating to spawning grounds in spring.
The Great Crested Newt is protected Europe-wide according to the fauna-flora-habitats Directive (annexes II and IV), in Germany it is categorized as "especially and strictly protected" according to the Federal Nature Conservation Act.
Literature reference: Thiesmeier B, Kupfer A, Jehle R (2009): Der Kammmolch – ein ,,Wasserdrache‘‘ in Gefahr. Laurenti-Verlag, Bielefeld