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Estimations of the population size of smooth newts (Lissotriton vulgaris) breeding in a pond in Lincolnshire, England

Deutsche Gesellscaft fur Herpetologie and Terrarienkunde (German Society for Herpetology)
Publication Date
  • C162 Freshwater Biology
  • C300 Zoology
  • C100 Biology


The population size of smooth newts (Lissotriton vulgaris) in a small artificial pond was monitored during the spring and summer of 2007 using netting and bottle traps. Individual animals were identified from digital photographs of their ventral spot patterns. Although 20-25 newts were caught per trapping, four methods for estimating population size each gave values around 205 newts. The Schnabel method was considered to give the most precise population estimate. Trapping exhibited a clumped pattern because newts appeared to be leaving the pond only to return later in the season. Methods that count newts without identifying them run the risk of severely underestimating population sizes, which could impact on decisions about habitat protection and the survival of local populations.

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