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The dorsal stripe in newt efts: a method for distinguishing Triturus vulgaris and T. helveticus

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Within a few weeks of metamorphosis, a dorsal stripe develops in smooth and palmate newts (Triturus vulgaris and T. helveticus). A method for distinguishing between the efts of these two species using characters based on the dorsal strip is described and evaluated. The method was tested using both experienced and inexperienced observers who, on average, classified 87% of the T. vulgaris and 97% of T. helveticus correctly. No misclassifications were made by any of the observers but a small proportion of the efts could not be classified with confidence into either category because the dorsal stripes were only faintly discernible.

Affiliations: 1: Brain & Behaviour Research Group, Department of Biology, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK; 2: School of Applied Physiology, NESCOT, Ewell, Surrey KT17 3DS, UK


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