From today's featured article
The alpine newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris) is a species of newt native to continental Europe and introduced to Great Britain and New Zealand. Adults measure 7–12 cm (2.8–4.7 in) and are usually dark grey to blue on the back and sides, with an orange belly and throat. The alpine newt occurs at high altitude as well as in the forested lowlands, and migrates to water for breeding. Males are conspicuously coloured during breeding season, and court females with a ritualised display. The aquatic larvae grow up to 5 cm (2.0 in) in around three months, and most metamorphose into terrestrial juvenile efts, which mature into adults at around three years. Larvae and adults feed mainly on diverse invertebrates and themselves fall prey to dragonfly larvae, large beetles, fish, snakes, birds or mammals. Although still relatively common, alpine newt populations are decreasing. The main threats are habitat destruction, pollution and the introduction of fish such as trout into breeding sites. (Full article...)
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