Native crested newt threatened by Italian rival

Friday 13 March 2015
Photo Credit: Jelger Herder/ RAVON
Photo Credit: Jelger Herder/ RAVON

A Salford PhD student, Willem Meilink has published a paper which has discovered that the Dutch northern crested newt is being replaced by its Italian invasive introduced counterpart.

The two newt species are morphologically similar and are also able to reproduce with one and another, resulting in hybrid offspring. Therefore, to determine the exact extent of Italian crested newt distribution, Willem and his collaborators employed DNA markers. The study showed that the Italian expansion was at the expense of the native northern crested newt.

Willem is working on his PhD on toad disease susceptibility, supervised by Dr Robert Jehle (ELS link), and recently found that putatively introduced populations of northern crested newts in the Scottish Highlands are actually of native origin.

To read the full report click here