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 01. Dispersion patterns of young great crested newts (Triturus cristatus)

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Open Access

pp.129-136

Authors: R. Hayward, R. S. Oldham, P. J. Watt And S. M. Head

Abstract: Dispersion patterns of different life stages (egg, larva, metamorph and adult) of the great crested newt, Triturus cristatus, were recorded in two adjacent woodland ponds in Oxfordshire, UK. The places along the shores where adult females emerged were significantly different from those where eggs were laid, suggesting that the females do not choose egg sites that correspond with their routes of migration. In the northern pond the distribution patterns of eggs and larvae were very similar. In the southern pond the eggs and larvae were almost entirely restricted to two of the three shores, where they had very similar distribution patterns. Metamorphs emerged from both ponds along the same shores as adult males, suggesting that that they were following directional cues. In laboratory tests, metamorphs showed a significant preference for their own, previously-used substrates over clean substrates, and over those used by other metamorphs. Metamorphs significantly preferred substrates previously used by an adult to clean substrates; the ability to use similar cues to orientate was further indicated by the significant tendency of metamorphs to follow a directional trail left on the substrate by an adult newt in a Y-maze, regardless of whether the adult was male or female. These results suggest that metamorphs can detect cues left by both metamorphs and adult newts and may be able to use them for orientation.

Keywords: dispersion, great crested newts, metamorphs, cues, orientation

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