During the mating season early in the year, the males exhibit blue colouring on their backs; their flanks are stippled black and white, and on the belly are marked with a blue stripe. The shallow crest is alternately spotted yellow and black. The females, in water camouflage, are mottle grey-brown-green and have some weak spotting on the back. The belly side of both sexes is bright orange to vermillion and always unmarked. The biggest of the males can reach up to nine, and the females up to twelve centimeters in length. After the mating season, older specimens have a darker, almost black, velvety skin (land camouflage).
Life and HabitatEdit
Alpine newts typically inhabit forests with good access to water in hilly to mountainous regions. They are mostly absent in forest-poor areas. They populate well in thick deciduous forests, as well as parkland and natural gardens. Outside the spawning season, Alpine newts live terrestrially. During the day it stays in all kinds of undergrowth, but during the mating season in cool water (forest pools, artificial pools). After the adults come out of winter dormancy, they migrate to their spawning pools.
Alpine newts were originally confined to Central Europe and mountainous Southern Europe, as well as an isolated area on the northern Iberian Peninsula. The species was introduced to southern England in the 1930s and several populations have become established as far north as Sunderland. In many ponds in Canterbury there are breeding populations of these newts as well as in London, probably ancestors of escaped pets. Some may carry the Chytrid fungus which is a disease that may wipe out amphibian populations if they come into contact with this newt.