Newt (Spanish ribbed) / Pleurodeles waltl

Did you know...

The sharp ribs act as the animal’s defense mechanism.

When seized by a predator the ribs can be pushed out to puncture through the skin and glands and become coated in a toxin from the skin glands

Not only does this make the animal feel spiny in the mouth of the predator but is also tastes unpleasant.

The Spanish ribbed newt is also known as the sharp ribbed newt and Iberian ribbed newt. It gets its name from its unusual defence mechanism of using its sharp ribs which can puncture through its sides. It is not restricted to Spain however, but is found in a range of freshwater habits across Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

It is highly aquatic and its habitats include scrub, open woodland and cultivated land. It is generally found in ponds, dayas, wadis, lakes, ditches and slow-moving streams (often temporary in nature) with plenty of vegetation cover. The adults are mostly found under stones or in mud in their aquatic habitats, or sheltering under cover on land if the wetland dries up.  Like all newts and salamanders the Spanish ribbed newt is a carnivore and has voracious feeding habits. The their food includes a variety of insects, small fish and even carrion.

During the mating season, which occurs in the spring, the males develop nuptial pads on their front legs and develop a distinct reddish hue along the body. The male and female enter amplexus, the mating hold of amphibians, with the male always grasping from below and using his nuptial pads to hold on. Once he has deposited a spermatophore ( a Package of sperm) near the females cloaca and the eggs have been fertilised the pair will break apart. The eggs which may number up to 200-1000 per season depending on the age and size of the female are deposited in clumps of 15-20 on submerged vegetation, rocks, branches or simply strewn on the bottom of the water body.