Smooth Newt

Lissotriton vulgaris


Обичен мрморец


Triton i zakonshëm

Back to species overview
<< Previous -Fire belly toad
Southern Crested Newt-Next >>
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

Lissotriton vulgaris


(Linnaeus, 1758)


Triturus vulgaris (Linnaeus, 1758)

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

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

Date assessed

November 2019


Bogoljub Sterijovski

Dragan Arsovski


Crnobrnja-Isailović, J.




Hofman, M.P.G.


The Smooth Newt is widespread across North Macedonia but is nevertheless limited to aquatic breeding habitats and their surroundings (with an extent of occurrence of 20.791 km2). The area of occupancy (212 km2) is more limited thus making the distribution severely fragmented. Nevertheless, the current area of occupancy (AOO) is likely an underestimation, since it can be expected that more breeding sites do exist throughout its extent of occurrence (EOO). For example, this species has been observed around the shorelines of North Macedonia’s largest freshwater ecosystems (Ohrid, Prespa and Dojdan Lake) and plenty of small water bodies around the country (>30). While its AOO is likely an underestimation, it is probably less than <500km2, and it is very unlikely that more research would provide a >9-fold increase in occupancy, which would suggest a non-threatened assessment. Despite an uncertain occupancy, where present, during field research it was observed that its populations are facing threats of severe fragmentation due to the destruction of forests, bush groves and meadows, and the drainage and pollution of its aquatic breeding sites. Also, due to droughts and habitat shifts caused by climate change, continuing declines and extreme fluctuations are observed in area of occupancy and quality of habitat and number of locations. Yet, the species can be found in all neighboring countries and can thus benefit from regional rescue effects; it should be taken into account though that literature has demonstrated that this species has very limited dispersal capacities, most often moving distances of 10-200 m (Müllner et al. 2001). Having in mind population fragmentation, the seemingly decreasing population trend and a very small, though uncertain AOO suggesting an Endangered status, despite a wide distribution nationally and possible, but perhaps unlikely regional rescue effects, the Smooth Newt was assessed as Vulnerable. Globally and in Europe this species has been assessed as Least Concern.


Current population trend



Preliminary monitoring studies indicate a declining population trend, nationally (unpublished data) and severe fragmentation.

Habitat and Ecology


Terrestrial|Freshwater (=Inland waters)

Habitat and Ecology

It is generally associated with woodland habitats, including deciduous, coniferous, mixed forests and dry forests and woodlands. This is an adaptable species also present in meadows, bush lands, parks, fruit gardens, many damp habitats and rural and urban areas. This Smooth 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 period starts in late spring or early summer. It breeds in still and slow moving shallow waters and irrigation ditches; females lay 200-300 eggs. Outside the reproductive season it is hard to distinguish the male and female of this species.

Use and trade

Use and trade

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



Threats to the species include general drainage, pollution and eutrophication of breeding sites, logging of forests surrounding breeding pools and the introduction of predatory fishes. The drying up of marshes for agricultural purposes is recorded in Monospitovo marsh and in Ezerani, Prespa region. According to Sterijovski (2015) the modification and fragmentation of habitats, especially at and around reproductive centers, has been a historical threat that remains today as well.

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

It is listed on Appendix III of the Bern Convention and it is not protected by national legislation. 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 (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. .p 67-73.

Doflein, F 1921. Mazedonien, Erlebnisse und beobachtungen eines Naturforschers im gefolge des Deutschen heeres Verlang von Gustav Fischer Jena . .p 592.

Karaman, S. 1922. Beiträge zur Herpetologie von Mazedonien. . .p 278-299.

Karaman, S. 1937. Fauna južne Srbije . .p 161- 179. [in Serbian].

Krizmanic, I., Mesaros, G., Dzukic, G. & Kalezic, M.L. 1997. Morphology of the smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris) in Former Yugoslavia: Taxonomical implications and distribution pattems. . .p 345-357.

Melovski, Lj., Ivanov, Gj., Angelova, N., Velevski, M., Hristovski, S. 2008. Monospitovsko blato. Poslednoto mocuriste vo Makedonija. Opstina Bosilovo. Bosilovo. .p 56.

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.

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

MoEPP. 2010b. Study for revalorization of natural values of protected area “Tikves” Strict Nature Reserve . Skopje . .p /.

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

Uzunova, D., Kitanova, D., Spirovska, M., Hristovski, S 2015. Integral Report for the Project implementation. Final report of the project “Ecological data gap analysis and ecological sensitivity map development for the Bregalnica river watershed”. Skopje . .p /.

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”
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.

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.

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

Džukić, G. 1972. Herpetološka zbirka Prirodnjačkog muzeja u Beogradu. (Herpetological collection of the Belgrade Museum of Natural History). .p 165-180.

Sidorovska et al. 2003 .The first recorded incidence of paedogenesis in the European Newt (Triturust Salamandridae) from FYR Macedonia . .p 1-2.

Dzukic et al. 2015. The batrachological collections of the Institute for Biological Research “Siniša Stanković”, University of Belgrade. .p 118-167.

Müllner, A. 2001. Spatial patterns of migrating Great Crested Newts and Smooth Newts: The importance of the terrestrial habitat surrounding the breeding pond Natur & Text .Germany . .p /.