Montseny Brook Newt – Calotriton arnoldi
The endemic Montseny Brook Newt (Calotriton arnoldi) was discovered to science in 2005 in the massif of Montseny, some 100km to the north of Barcelona. This is Spain’s only endemic newt/salamander. Less than 1500 individual adults live in an area of just 40 km2. Video here
Latest news (2008) Montseny brook newt bred in captivity
The Montseny brook newt, a new Species of Amphibians (from BCNWEB)
Catalan researchers have discovered a new species of mountain newt in the Montseny Natural Park. The new species has been given the scientific name Calotriton arnoldi , in honor of the British herpetologist E. N. Arnold. It is the only non-fossil endemic vertebrate species known to exist in Catalonia. The paper describing this discovery was recently published in the prestigious Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society .
The C. arnoldi holotype, the specimen chosen by the authors as the species model, is on deposit at the Museum; it is the first holotype in the vertebrate collection.
The Pyrenean newt ( Calotriton asper ) is the closest relative to the Montseny brook newt ; however, a number of genetic, morphological, and osteological characteristics make the Montseny brook newt unique. Some of the characteristics that differentiate C. arnoldi from its nearest relative include smoother skin, a translucent ventral area, and a chocolate-colored back. In addition, it is smaller, its throat has a pinkish-ivory color, and the vertebra at the base of the tail has a distinct morphology.
The study compared the genetic sequences of individual specimens from distinct populations in order to establish the phylogenetic relationships. The results showed that the evolutionary line of the Montseny brook newt separated from that of the Pyrenean newt some 1.5 million years ago. However, the first Montseny brook newts were not found until 1979, likely due to their scarcity and very limited geographical distribution- they inhabit only a few streams within Montseny Natural Park. According to Carranza, the Montseny brook newt lives in cold water streams, where the water is clean and well-oxygenated, at an altitude greater than 600 meters. They can especially be found in areas populated by beech trees and also near holm oak trees.
Of all the amphibians in Europe , C. arnoldi has the most limited area of distribution and it is also one of the most endangered species on the continent. The data that has been collected shows that there are only seven existing populations spread over an area no greater than forty square kilometers. The population size is less than 1500 individual adults. Demographic and genetic studies will be carried out soon in order to establish a conservation plan that will include the best methods for protecting this species. “
Pyrenean brook salamander, Pyrenean mountain newt , Tritó pirinenc, Tritón pirenaico,The Iberianature guide to Spain