Italian crested newt

Triturus carnifex

Common name:

Italian crested newt

Scientific name:

Triturus carnifex

Alternative common names:

Alpine Crested Newt, Tritone cristata

Italian crested newt is a large newt, with females measuring up to 180 mm and males up to 150 mm in total length. They feed on aquatic invertebrates, juvenile newts, and tadpoles, and have also been reported to consume shed amphibian skin. 

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    Southern and central Europe.

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA-Category 1b

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    Not yet known.

    How does it spread?

    Dispersed along waterways at original site.

    Why is it a problem?

    It is a very adaptable species that is unlikely to be facing any significant threats, Possible risk of transmission of chytrid fungus.

    What does it look like?

    Description: Adults can grow up to 16cm and they’re generally stockier and more smooth-skinned than the Great Crested Newt. There is little or no white stippling on the flanks and they have a more intensely coloured yellow belly with big, round dark spots. Female Italian Crested Newts often have a yellow stripe down the back. Habitat: It is a very adaptable species occurring in a wide variety of savannahs, grassland, thickets, and agricultural land. It is able to breed in more or less permanent and semi-permanent standing water. Breeding: Italian crested newts prefer still waters for breeding. Males attract females with an elaborate dance. Females lay 200-400 eggs a year. Breeding lasts for around two month in early summer. Efts (terrestrial juveniles) emerge from ponds by the end of summer. Sexually mature at 3-4 years.