Pleurodeles – Ribbed newts

When seized, the push ribs out through skin giving them their name

Ribbed newts represent a distinctive group of aquatic amphibians characterized by their robust bodies and unique physical features. These newts are predominantly found in European aquatic environments with abundant vegetation and shallow, slowly moving water.

Their rough, gray-brown skin, which features dark patches and a row of orange wart-like markings on each side of their bodies, is one of their defining characteristics. These markings add to their visual appeal and make them easily recognizable in their natural habitats.

Ribbed newts possess an adaptation that is ideally suited for their aquatic lifestyle: lengthy tails with narrow fins. These tails, which are longer in males than in females, play a crucial role in swimming and navigating their watery habitats. Additionally, these newts have abnormally long forelimbs compared to the rest of their bodies, further aiding them in their aquatic endeavors.

The sexual dimorphism observed in ribbed newts is another notable feature. Females exhibit giant, broad heads and an overall stockier build, particularly when they are carrying eggs. This physical difference between males and females is essential for their reproductive processes, as the females store and transport the eggs within their bodies during the breeding season.

Among the various species of newts worldwide, the ribbed newt holds the distinction of being one of the largest. In fact, it is not only one of the largest newt species but also the largest found in Europe. The impressive size of ribbed newts contributes to their role as significant members of their aquatic ecosystems.