Photo above: Female or Juvenile Marbled newt walking across the kitchen floor in France.
Photo above: Marbled newt in breeding season with pronounced cloaca clearly visible.
The Marbled Newt is one of the larger newts in France, the male grows to 14 cm and the female to 17 cm. It has a robust appearance with a large head and any confusion with the Crested Newt can be distinguished by the size of the head and the bold colouration of the body which is a vivid green marked with black spots. Females and Juveniles have an orange band bordered with thin black lines running down the centre of the back. Males in terrestrial phase have a slightly raised crest with occasional orange marks, in aquatic breeding phase this crest becomes much larger and is green with vertical black bands, but smoother in outline than the Crested Newt.
They commence to make their way to the water for reproduction in February until mid May where a female lays around 400 eggs which hatch after about 16 days, metamorphosis follows in 2 to 3 months. Adults usually leave the water immediately after breeding, sexual maturity is reached after 6 years during which time the juveniles remain on land, lifespan is a maximum of 14 years.
The Marbled Newt is present in the western half of France and absent in the east, there is a small but apparently stable population in Nord, (59), that was introduced. It is confined to lower altitudes and doesn’t live above 1000 metres and prefers habitats that have bushy cover, hedgerows and woodlands. Various types of water are used, lakes, ponds, canals and even large ditches or ruts although rarely where fish are present, acid or slightly saline water is acceptable. In its terrestrial phase it lives in wet or damp places, wetlands and occasionally in cellars. Prey is made up of insects, small slugs and caterpillars and its activity is generally nocturnal, hibernation takes place from October in various cavities, tree roots etc.
Quite a robust species with generally strong populations provided minimum habitat requirements are met, forest ponds and ditches need to be maintained.