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Triturus (from Triton, son of Poseidon and Greek: ura, meaning tail) is a genus of newt, commonly known as the crested or marbled newts, depending on the species. They are found across most of Europe, parts of Russia and the Middle East. The genus is being reorganized by taxonomists; there are currently 9 species.
Members of this genus spend most of the year ashore only visiting the water in the breeding season for reproduction. Triturus exhibits the most complex courting ritual of all the newts. After performing a courtship display, the male deposits a spermatophore (a small packet of sperm) in the path of the female. He then moves sideways in front of the female to gently encourage and move her into a position where the spermatophore will be pressed against, and picked up by, her cloaca (reproductive and kidney opening). The female lays two or three eggs a day between March and mid July, until 200–300 eggs have been laid. The eggs are laid on submerged aquatic plants, and carefully wrapped in leaves. The larvae hatch after about 3 weeks and metamorphose into air-breathing juveniles about 4 months later. Great Crested Newts become sexually mature adults between two and three years of age.
The genus Triturus is a problem for taxonomists. One member, the southern crested newt, has been classified eighteen different ways, and likewise the marbled newt. Triturus has recently been split into four genera: Lissotriton for the small bodied species (formerly T. boscai, T. helveticus, T. italicus, T. montandoni and T. vulgaris), Ommatotriton for the banded newts (formerly T. ophryticus and T. vittatus), Mesotriton or Ichthyosaura (containing only the Alpine Newt, formerly T. alpestris) and the remainder remain in Triturus.
- Triturus carnifex – Italian crested newt
- Triturus cristatus – northern crested newt, great crested newt
- Triturus dobrogicus – Danube crested newt
- Triturus ivanbureschi
- Triturus karelinii – southern crested newt
- Triturus macedonicus
- Triturus marmoratus – marbled newt
- Triturus pygmaeus – southern marbled newt, pygmy marbled newt
- Wielstra, B., et al. (2013). Tracing glacial refugia of Triturus newts based on mitochondrial DNA phylogeography and species distribution modeling. Frontiers in Zoology 10:13.
- bbc.co.uk factfile 478 Retrieved 2007-11-30
- livingunderworld.com; Order:Caudata; Accessed 2/5/07
- Wielstra, B., et al. (2013). A revised taxonomy of crested newts in the Triturus karelinii group (Amphibia: Caudata: Salamandridae), with the description of a new species. Zootaxa 3682(3), 441-53.