PHOTOS: A very attractive Alpine Newt in France.
Reproduction commences in April until May or June. The mating ritual of the male is somewhat nonchalant and rudimentary with little contact; the spermatiphore is released by the male without requiring a positive response from the female. The female lays 250 to 300 eggs which can be single, grouped or in strings, these take about 12 days to hatch and metamorphosis normally follows in around 3 months although sometimes this is delayed until the following year. Sexual maturity takes between 3 and 5 years and life span is about 10 years.
Although locally abundant in some areas there has been a decline in population especially near the edges of its distribution range.
Listed as vulnerable on the red list for France - it is a fully protected species.
Ichthyosaura, (Triturus), alpestris
The alpine newt is a small to medium size newt, males being 7cm to 10cm and females 8cm to 12cm, slim in appearance with a short, broad head, fingers and toes are not webbed. The back and body sides, which are smooth or slightly granulated, are predominantly bluish for males and predominantly greenish for females, spotted or speckled with darker marks, male coloration is particularly vivid during the breeding season when in the aquatic phase, the male also develops a small, smooth edged crest which is black and yellow. The belly and throat of both male and female are orange and unmarked. In terrestrial phase the coloration is more sombre, brownish grey with an orange band running from the back of the head to the tip of the tail which is not always clearly visible.
Generally the adults live on land outside of the breeding period spending their time in the debris of the forest floor, hedgerows and bushy scrub. In the water its prey is mainly insects, larvae, fish eggs and aquatic worms, on land it is made up of worms, insects, spiders and beetles. Hibernation normally takes place on land under rocks, tree stumps and roots, this can occasionally be very deep to avoid freezing, especially at high altitudes where it is often the case that they stay in the water all the year. Ponds, lakes, canals and slow rivers are used, often with quite high acidity.