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Age, size and growth of the southern crested newt Triturus karelinii (Strauch 1870) in a population from Bozdag (Western Turkey)

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We studied the characteristics of bone growth assessed by skeletochronology in a southern crested newt Triturus karelinii (Urodela) population from Western Turkey. The timing and patterns of bone arrested growth were observed using the phalanges of juveniles and adults that were caught in spring at a breeding site. A metamorphosis line was found in the juveniles. In some adults, a classical succession of single lines of arrested growth was observed in about 50% of the cross sections. However, the other adults exhibited a succession of double lines of arrested growth in their phalanges. Due to the arid summer and cold winter climate in the Bozdag region (1200 m a.s.l.), we argue that in this last case, the lines of arrested growth were deposited during both the summer (aestivation) and winter (wintering). Body length, age and growth were similar in males and females. The age of maturity was 3 to 4 years old and longevity was 8 and 11 years in males and females respectively. Body length and age among taxonomically related large bodied newts of the T. cristatus complex were reported from populations experiencing various environmental conditions. Body length and age at maturity were similar to that observed in other newt species. However, longevity seems to be lower than expected in the T. karelinii studied population. We hypothesized that the arid climate of Bozdag could cause a higher mortality risk during the terrestrial phase of the life cycle. Studying more populations exposed to various conditions is clearly needed to assess interpopulational variation of these life-history traits in this newt species.


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