Alpine newt

Ichthyosaura alpestris


Алпски мрморец


Tritoni i alpeve

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Not evaluated Data deficient Least concern Near threatened Vulnerable ENDANGERED Critically endangered Extinct in the wild Extinct
Assessment info
Habitat and Ecology
Use and Trade
Conservation Actions


Scientific name

Ichthyosaura alpestris


(Laurenti, 1768)


Mesotriton alpestris (Laurenti, 1768); Triturus alpestris (Laurenti, 1768)

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

EN – Endangered, B2ab(ii,iii)c(ii,iii)

Date assessed

November 2019


Bogoljub Sterijovski

Dragan Arsovski


Crnobrnja-Isailović, J.




Hofman, M.P.G.


The Alpine Newt is limited to five high-altitude locations in western North Macedonia (Shar-Korab massif, Jablanica Mt., Bistra Mt. and Baba Mt.), thus its populations are severely fragmented, resulting in a small extent of occurrence of only 3.543km2 and a very limited area of occupancy of 68km2. Additionally, due to droughts and habitat shifts caused by climate change, continuing declines and extreme fluctuations have been observed in area of occupancy, quality of habitat and number of locations. It can be found in all neighboring countries, but in this part of the Balkans it is limited to high-altitude habitats, thus regional rescue effects without human intervention are most likely impossible. Consequently, the national populations of this newt have been assessed as Endangered. Globally and in Europe this species has been assessed as Least Concern.


Current population trend



In North Macedonia the population size is not accurately determined. It is generally common in suitable habitat, but Alpine Newt populations are likely decreasing due to the effects of climate change on its alpine habitats. Additionally, since it only inhabits high mountain localities in North Macedonia, its populations are severely fragmented.

Habitat and Ecology


Terrestrial|Freshwater (=Inland waters)

Habitat and Ecology

This is a very aquatic species generally found close to water. It is widespread in alpine habitats including sub-alpine meadows and pastureland. Globally, the species breeds, and larval development takes place, in all stagnant waters including shallow ponds, temporary pools, lakes, and ditches, drinking troughs, ruts and sometimes slow-moving streams. The generation time is between 2 and 10 years depending on the locality. The species life expectancy might be more than 20 years, but is usually around 7 years. Several dozens to hundreds of eggs are deposited per female each year. The active period for this species starts in May and ends at the end of September.

Use and trade

Use and trade

There is no confirmed use and trade of this species in N. Macedonia



This species is vulnerable to fish introductions (as is the case in Golemo Ezero on Mt. Baba) and breeding habitat destruction (drainage of wetlands and aquatic pollution) throughout its range. Following fish introductions, most populations rapidly become extinct.

The fungal threats Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans were recently detected in the Balkan Peninsula. These cause the disease known as  Chytridiomycosis (Whittaker and Vredenburg, 2016in amphibians. Studies have shown that climate change facilitates the spread of this disease (Pounds, A. 2006), and scientists suggest that pesticides may inhibit the innate immune defense, and increase susceptibility to this disease (Davidson et al. 2007). This calls for urgent preventative matters, primarily in the form of monitoring so that initial signs of the fungus in North Macedonia are caught timely and quarantined.

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

This species is listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention. This species is not protected by national legislation. Appropriate habitat management is needed to maintain wetlands and prevent succession to scrub and woodland.

According to the “Strategy for biodiversity of Republic of North Macedonia” (Ministry of environment and physical planning, 2018) swamps, particularly high-altitude swaps are affected by degradation as a result of land conversion due to the intensification of agriculture, water supply shortage, irrigation, fish stocking, lack of waste water treatment and construction activities.

The national action for the “prevention of loss, degradation and fragmentation of natural habitats of national and international importance” prioritizes the following actions (National biodiversity strategy and action plan, 2018):

o   10.4 Protection and restoration of swamp habitats/wetlands and riparian habitats

o   10.4.1 Identification of the most affected lowland swamps/wetlands and preparation of action plans for their conservation

o   10.4.2 Identification of the most affected high-altitude swamps/wetlands and preparation of action plans for their conservation

o   10.4.3 Development of a plan and implementation of activities for the prevention of swamp and wetland degradation due to intensification of agriculture, irrigation, fish stocking and other activities of the economic sectors

o   10.4.4 Implementation of pilot measures for the restoration of wetlands



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Sterijovski, B. 2015. Conservation and protection status of amphibians in Macedonia Pelagic Publishing Exeter, UK. .p 67-73.

Kopstein, F. & Wettstein, O. -1921. Reptilien und Amphibien aus Albanien . .p 387 -457.

Sterijovski, B., Aleksovska, K., Tasevski, S. 2010b. Distribution and valorization of amphibians and reptiles on Jablanica Mountain . .p 81-85.

Sotiropulos, K. et al. -2001. Morphological differentiation of the alpine newt (Tritltrus alpestris) in the Balkans: Taxonomic implications. .p 1-8.

Oxfam Italia. 2011. Study for revalorization of Protected Area Mavrovo Skopje . .p/.

Dzukic, G., M.L. Kalezic, N. Tvrtkovic, A. Dorovic. 1990. An overview of the occurrence of paedomorphosis in Yugoslav newt (Triturus, Salamandridae) population . .p 16-22.

Ministry of environment and physical planning. 2018. National biodiversity strategy and action plan : for the period 2018 – 2023 Ministry of environment and physical planning Skopje. .p 183.

Whittaker, Kellie & Vredenburg, Vance. 2016. “An Overview of Chytridiomycosis” . .p/.

Pounds, A. 2006. Widespread Amphibian Extinctions from Epidemic Disease Driven by Global Warming . .p 161-167.

Davidson, C., Benard, M.F., Shaffer, H.B., Parker, J.M., O’Leary, C., Conlon, J.M., Rollins-Smith, L.A. 2007. Effects of chytrid and carbaryl exposure on survival, growth and skin peptide defenses in foothill yellow-legged frogs . .p 1771-1776.

Melovski, Lj., Markoski, B., Hristovski, S., Jovanovska, D., Anastasovski, V., Klincharov, S., Velevski, M., Velkovski, N., Trendafilov, A., Matevski, V., Kostadinovski, M., Karadelev, M., Levkov, Z., Kolchakovski, D.. 2013. Regional division of the Republic of Macedonia for the needs of biological databases . .p 81-111.

Gasc, J-P., Cabela, A., Crnobrnja-Isailović, J., Dolmen, D., Grossenbacher, K., Haffner, P., Lescure, J., Martens, H., Martinez-Rica, J.P., Maurin, H., Oliveira, M.L., Sofianidou, T.S., Veith, M., Zuiderwijk, A. 1997. Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Europe .Societas Europaea Herpetologica & Museum Nationall d’ Histoire Naturelle (IEGB/SPN). Paris. .p 496.