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 03. A comparison of survey methods for crested newts (Triturus cristatus) and night counts at a secure site, 1983-1993

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Open Access

pp.221-228

Authors: A. S. Cooke

Abstract: Breeding crested newts (Triturus cristatus) were studied in two ponds at a privately-owned secure site. Numbers counted at night were found to be positively related to numbers trapped or netted using standardized techniques. Night counting was used to monitor changes in breeding numbers from 1983 to 1993. In one pond, counts declined to zero by 1990 as a result of siltation and drought conditions. In the main breeding pond, considerable year-to-year fluctuations occurred, with annual mean counts ranging from 3 to 183. A significant rise was recorded in 1985, that was attributed to exceptional recruitment to the adult population. Counts remained high until 1988, but then declined. Numbers decreased even further during the drought years of 1991 and 1992, despite small pools being dug. These small pools were evidently unattractive and were mainly ignored. After heavy rain recharged the pond in autumn 1992, counts returned to a similar level in 1993 to that recorded at the start of the study, 9-10 years before. Catches of larvae varied considerably from year to year. Larval numbers were not related to counts of adults, but were positively correlated with catches of larvae of smooth newts T. vulgaris, which also breed at the site. Implications for the conservation of crested newts are discussed.

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