Today I visited some ponds and streams in Yorkshire with Carl Corbidge and his daughter Sasha where there are introduced populations of the Alpine newt (Mesotriton alpestris).
This species adapts well to the cool British climate as its natural range on the European continent, especially in the south, consists of cold, mountainous areas which are often covered with snow for many months of the year. Although in the north of France, the Netherlands, Germany etc they usually inhabit woodland ponds and streams. First we explored a ditch at the edge of a field and found numerous well developed larvae of both the Alpine newt and the Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris). At this time of year the only way to find an adult newt was to lift ground cover, or wait for dark if it was raining, which it wasn’t. Moving on to a small woodland stream we found a few logs and other debris to turn, and luckily I was able to find a nice adult Alpine newt. According to recent studies the Alpine newt has taken over drastically from the two species of native newt found in this area of Yorkshire, however the populations although locally common do not seem to spread too far.