Ommatotriton – Banded newts

Native to Western Asia and Caucasus newts

These remarkable creatures possess lizard-shaped bodies with four legs and long tails, making them easily recognizable and distinct from other amphibian species. They have a slender body with smooth skin and a long, pointed tail. Their coloration varies among species, but they often exhibit shades of brown, gray, or olive green with dark spots or stripes.

One distinguishing feature of Ommatotriton newts is the presence of prominent costal grooves, which are grooves running along the sides of their bodies. These grooves give them a banded appearance, hence the common name “banded newts.”

While some species exhibit smooth and moist skin, others have grainy skin, contributing to their diversity within the genus. Additionally, the presence of well-developed lungs is a common trait among most Ommatotriton species, although some individuals retain gills and maintain an entirely aquatic lifestyle. They are skilled swimmers and can be found in both shallow and deep water.

Ommatotriton newts are primarily nocturnal and spend most of their time in or near water. They are skilled swimmers and can be found in both shallow and deep water. During the breeding season, males develop distinct nuptial coloration and perform courtship displays to attract females. Females lay their eggs in water, and the larvae hatch and develop in aquatic environments before undergoing metamorphosis into terrestrial adults.

These amphibians also possess the extraordinary ability to regenerate various body parts, including limbs, eyes, spinal cords, hearts, intestines, and even upper and lower jaws. This remarkable regenerative capacity contributes to their resilience and ability to recover from injuries or predation.