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Episode 1631

Smooth newt
Fri, 2021-Oct-22 00:17 UTC
Length - 2:58

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Friday, 22 October 2021 is Smooth newt.

The smooth newt, European newt, northern smooth newt or common newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) is a species of newt. It is widespread in Europe and parts of Asia, and introduced to Australia. Individuals are brown with an orange to white, spotted underside and reach a length of 8–11 cm (3.1–4.3 in), with males being larger than females. The skin is dry and velvety while the newts live on land but become smooth when they migrate into water for breeding. Breeding males develop a more vivid colour pattern and a conspicuous skin seam (crest) on their back.

Originally described by Carl Linnaeus as a lizard, the smooth newt went by different genus names before the current classification in Lissotriton was adopted. Three subspecies are currently accepted. Four former subspecies, all with more restricted ranges, are now classified as separate species, as they are distinct in appearance and genetically: the Caucasian, the Greek, Kosswig's and Schmidtler's smooth newt. The smooth newt forms a species complex with these four species and the Carpathian newt and hybridises with some of them.

Smooth newts live on land for most of the year, where they are mostly nocturnal and hide during the day. They can adapt to a wide range of natural or semi-natural habitats, from forests over field edges to parks and gardens. The newts feed mainly on various invertebrates such as insects or earthworms and are themselves eaten by predators such as fish, birds or snakes. Between spring and summer, they breed in ponds or similar water bodies. Males court females with a ritualised underwater display. Females then lay their eggs on water plants, and larvae hatch after 10 to 20 days. They develop over around three months before metamorphosing into terrestrial juveniles (efts). Maturity is reached after two to three years, and adults can reach an age of up to 14 years.

The smooth newt is common over much of its range and classified as Least Concern species by the IUCN. It is however negatively affected by habitat destruction and fragmentation and the introduction of fish. Like other European amphibians, it is listed in the Berne Convention as a protected species.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:17 UTC on Friday, 22 October 2021.

For the full current version of the article, see Smooth newt on Wikipedia.

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