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|Triturus macedonicus, Macedonian crested newt: male in "mating dress"|
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Triturus (from Triton, son of Poseidon and Greek: ura, meaning tail) is a genus of newt, commonly known as the crested or marbled newts, depending on the species. They are found across most of Europe, parts of Russia and the Middle East. The genus is being reorganized by taxonomists; there are currently 9 species.
Members of this genus spend most of the year ashore only visiting the water in the breeding season for reproduction. Triturus exhibits the most complex courting ritual of all the newts. After performing a courtship display, the male deposits a spermatophore (a small packet of sperm) in the path of the female. He then moves sideways in front of the female to gently encourage and move her into a position where the spermatophore will be pressed against, and picked up by, her cloaca (reproductive and kidney opening). The female lays two or three eggs a day between March and mid July, until 200–300 eggs have been laid. The eggs are laid on submerged aquatic plants, and carefully wrapped in leaves. The larvae hatch after about 3 weeks and metamorphose into air-breathing juveniles about 4 months later. Great Crested Newts become sexually mature adults between two and three years of age.
Triturus historically contained most European newts but was substantially revised after it was shown to be polyphyletic. Three genera have been split off: Lissotriton for the small-bodied species, Ommatotriton for the banded newts, and Ichthyosaura for the alpine newt.
In the modern, strict sense, Triturus contains the marbled newts with two, and the crested newts with six accepted species. Both groups were long considered as single species, Triturus marmoratus and T. cristatus, respectively. Detailed morphological study and molecular phylogenetics led however to the recognition of former subspecies as true species. Triturus ivanbureschi was the latest species to be described (in 2013), but may itself be two species.
The genus most closely related to Triturus is Calotriton, the European brook newts.
|Cladogram of the genus Triturus, showing the eight to nine species and their relationships, as estimated through molecular phylogenetics from complete mitogenome sequences.|
- Wielstra, Ben; Crnobrnja-Isailović, Jelka; Litvinchuk, Spartak N>; Reijnen1, Bastian T.; Skidmore, Andrew K.; Sotiropoulos6, Konstantinos; Toxopeus, Albertus G.; Tzankov, Nikolay; Vukov4, Tanja; Arntzen1, Jan W. (2013). "Tracing glacial refugia of Triturus newts based on mitochondrial DNA phylogeography and species distribution modeling". Frontiers in Zoology (Munich, Germany: Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft) 10 (13).
- bbc.co.uk factfile 478 Retrieved 2007-11-30
- Wielstra, B., et al. (2013). A revised taxonomy of crested newts in the Triturus karelinii group (Amphibia: Caudata: Salamandridae), with the description of a new species. Zootaxa 3682(3), 441-53.
- Wielstra, Ben; Arntzen, Jan W (2011). "Unraveling the rapid radiation of crested newts (Triturus cristatus superspecies) using complete mitogenomic sequences". BMC Evolutionary Biology 11 (1): 162. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-11-162. ISSN 1471-2148.