- Explore community
There have been a lot of juvenile Lissotriton (smooth or palmate) newts posted on iSpot which have only been identified to genus level. It is possible to identify these to species level based on the orange line which may or may not be present on their back.
On smooth newts L.vulgaris the orange stripe (if present at all) appears behind the head and peters out close to the forelimbs such as on these ones:
I had been aware of this distinction for some time but couldn't remember the source so have done a bit of checking back through my books and found:
From Newts and Salamanders of Europe, by Richard Griffiths (1996): "Immature newts may be identified as palmate newts by a light-coloured dorsal stripe which runs down the neck, down the back and on to the tail. This is yellow-orange in colour and of equal intensity along its length."
The same book says that smooth newts "...may be distinguished from the closely related palmate newt by the dorsal stripe. In many animals this yellow stripe is most intense where it starts on the head, and then fades gradually along the back and does not reach the tail."
This is described in this paper: Roberts & Griffiths, 1992. The dorsal stripe in newt efts: a method for distinguishing Triturus vulgaris and T.helveticus. Amphibia-Reptilia 13: 13-19, which gives greater detail than the book.
I have tried to amend all the juvenile "Lissotriton sp." observations that weren't already identified to species level.