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 06. Variation in dorsal crest morphology and tail height with age in great crested newts (Triturus cristatus)

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Open Access

pp.173-176

Authors: John M. R. Baker And Tim R. Halliday

Abstract: Variation in dorsal crest morphology and tail height in males of a population of great crested newts (Triturus cristatus) was examined in relation to putative age. Newts were divided into three age classes according to the number of years that they had been recorded in the breeding Population:= first-year breeders, second-year breeders and long-term breeders. Crest morphology differed between the age classes, with a tendency for the crest's teeth to be more irregular in older males. We believe this is the first recorded evidence of age-dependent variation in a sexually selected, morphological character in an amphibian. However, it remains to be tested whether females distinguish between males on the basis of crest morphology. Body size (snout-vent length) and tail height, which is strongly correlated with crest size, also differed between the age groups: body size increased with age and males breeding for the first time had tails that were less tall than those of older animals.

Keywords: great crested newt; Triturus cristatus; crest; sexual selection; age; courtship; behaviour

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