Friday, 5 May 2017

Newt Confusion

In the foreground is the small pool along the Ormsaigbeg shore where we found three newts which have been identified as....

....palmate newts, Lissotriton helveticus, but which we, with our tongues firmly in our cheeks, have assigned to a new variety on the grounds of their unusual colouration, var ormsaigbegis.

The last time we visited them they were in a pool which conspicuously lacked tadpoles, though other nearby pools weren't short of them. Now, suddenly....

....there are tadpoles in the newts' pool.

At first we thought that the tadpoles might belong to the newts but we now understand that newt young, called efts, are pale and have external gills; so these are either frog or, since there were plenty of toad eggs in long strings a week or so ago, they may belong to toads.

A little further along the shore we came across this newt. It doesn't have webbed back feet so it isn't a male palmate newt, so it's either a female palmate (but not var ormsaigbegis) or a common newt.

The pond it inhabited also had tadpoles. Newts eat tadpoles, so perhaps that's why the newt population in these pools is thriving.

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