The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 02. Notes on the morphometrics and spot patterns of female smooth newts (Triturus vulgaris) at a coastal site in Lincolnshire


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Authors: T. Clifford

Abstract: Adult female Triturus vulgaris breeding at seven small ponds within a freshwater marsh at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes National Nature Reserve were measured, weighed and examined for throat and belly spotting.

When the data were combined it was found that 26. 8 percent ± 4.2 per cent S. E. of the total population had immaculate throats. Immaculate-throated newts tended to have fewer, smaller and usually less distinct belly spots than the normal spotted-throated form. All the immaculate-throated newts in the sample were found to have dark-yellowish throat and lower mandible pigmentation.

There were no significant morphometric differences between immaculate-throated and spotted-throated newts at the study site although the immaculate-throated animals were found to have a significantly shorter head + body length than those recorded in mid Wales by Harrison, Gittins and Slater (1981). Both immaculate-throated and spotted-throated newts at the study site were found to be significantly lighter than those recorded by Frazer ( i 983) and Harrison et al. ( 1 981 ).

It is suggested that the high incidence of immaculate-throated female smooth newts at Saltfleetby-Theddlethorpe Dunes NNR is the result of the 'founder effect'.

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