Macedonian newt

Triturus macedonicus


Македонски мрморец


Triton me kreshtë

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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

Triturus macedonicus


(Karaman, 1922)


Molge karelinii var. macedonica Karaman, 1922

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

VU – Vulnerable, B2ab(ii,iii,iv)c(ii,iii,iv)

Date assessed

November 2019


Bogoljub Sterijovski

Dragan Arsovski


Crnobrnja-Isailović, J.




Hofman, M.P.G.


The Macedonian Crested Newt is widespread across North Macedonia (EOO=20.208km2), but is nevertheless very patchily distributed according to the distribution of its aquatic breeding centers, thus its AOO is more limited (236km2). Its habitats are facing serious threats, especially the breeding centers making the species particularly prone to fluctuations in AOO. Nevertheless, this AOO might be an underestimation within its wide national distribution and additionally, it can be found in most neighboring countries (Greece, Serbia and Albania), and can thus benefit from regional rescue effects that have promoted the downlisting of its assessment to Vulnerable. Globally and in Europe this species has been assessed as Least Concern.


Current population trend



Preliminary monitoring studies suggest a decreasing population trends (unpublished data).

Habitat and Ecology


Terrestrial|Freshwater (=Inland waters)

Habitat and Ecology

It inhabits a wide variety of terrestrial habitats from beech woodlands to arid Mediterranean climates. This species can be found in modified habitats such as quarries and artificial water bodies such as stony wells, tanks and drinking troughs, in mountain forests (broad-leaved and coniferous species) and their surroundings and meadows as well. The Macedonian Crested Newt is active from mid March until beginning of October. Activity can be delayed and shortened at high altitudes starting mid April until mid September. Reproduction stars in late Spring or early Summer in various stagnant permanent and temporary aquatic habitats. Breeding takes place in slow moving stream pools, ponds and occasionally drainage ditches. The female deposits approximately 100-200 eggs; these are individually wrapped in aquatic vegetation.

Use and trade

Use and trade

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



The Macedonian Crested Newt is sensitive to changes in water quality. The principal threats to the species are loss of aquatic habitats, especially breeding sites, through agricultural intensification and agro-chemical pollution, and introduction of predatory fishes. Climate change can cause fluctuations in area of occupancy that can be especially devastating when it affects reproductive centers. This has been observed in the Prespa and Ohrid region.

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 scientist 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

Listed on Appendix II of the Bern Convention. Listed on Annex IV of the EU Habitats Directive. It is protected by national legislation as it is on the List of protected wild species of N. Macedonia (Official gazette No.139. 2011).

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. Action plans for the conservation of this newt’s reproductive centers, i.e. wetlands are urgently needed.

The national action for the “prevention of loss, degradation and fragmentation of natural habitats of national and international importance” prioritizes the following actions (Ministry of environment and physical planning, 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



Sillero, N., Campos, J., Bonardi, A., Corti, C., Creemers, R., Crochet, P.-A., Crnobrnja-Isailović, J., Denoël, M., Ficetola, G.F., Gonçalves, J., Kuzmin, S., Lymberakis, P., de Pous, P., Rodríguez, A., Sindaco, R., Speybroeck, J., Toxopeus, B., Vieites, D.R., Vences, M. 2014. Updated distribution and biogeography of amphibians and reptiles of Europe . .p 1-31.

Sterijovski, B. 2015. Conservation and protection status of amphibians in Macedonia. Pelagic Publishing. Exeter, UK . .p67-73.

Cmobrnja, J., Kaleziic, M.L. & Dukic, G. -1989. Genetc divergence in the crested newt (Triturus cristatus complex) from Yugoslavia.. .p 81-92.

Sidorovska, V., Petkovski, S.,Dzukic, G., Smith, R. D. 2006. The Pelister Dragon: Faunal and Zoogeographical Characteristics of Mt. Pelister Amphibians and Reptiles . .p 65-94.

Wielstra, B. & Arntzen, J.W. -2013. Kicking Triturus arntzeni when it’s down: large-scale nuclear genetic data confirm that newts from the type locality are genetically admixed . .p 381–388.

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

BIOECO. -2009. Feasibility Study for Ezerani. Skopje . .p/.

GIZ CSBL Team. 2019. Monitoring Manual for Lake-bound Species and Habitats of Lakes Prespa, Ohrid and Shkodra/Skadar. Implementing the EU Nature Conservation Directives in South-Eastern Europe GIZ. Bon. .p 142.

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 . .p183.

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

Sterijovski, B. 2014. Conservation and Protection Status of Amphibians in Macedonia Pelagic Publishing . .p 78–84.
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.

2011. Official gazette of Republic of Macedonia. No.139. Skopje . .p/.

Dubois, A., and J. Raffaëlli. 2009. A new ergotaxonomy of the family Salamandridae Goldfuss, 1820 (Amphibia, Urodela) . .p 1-85.