Southern Crested Newt

Triturus karelinii


Балкански 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 karelinii


(Strauch, 1870)


Triturus cristatus ssp. karelini (Strauch, 1870)

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

EN      B2ab(ii,iii,iv)c(ii,iii,iv)

Date assessed

November 2019


Bogoljub Sterijovski

Dragan Arsovski


Crnobrnja-Isailović, J.




Hofman, M.P.G.


Buresch’s Crested Newt can only be found in central and eastern North Macedonia, where it is limited to its aquatic breeding centers and their surroundings, thus its AOO is quite limited. The threats that its habitats are facing have made the species particularly prone to fluctuations in AOO. Furthermore, Macedonian populations of this newt are at the western edge of their global distribution range (Wielstra et al., 2013), thus they might be facing suboptimal environmental conditions. It is also known to hybridize with the Macedonian Crested Newt on Kozhuf Mt. and Sredorek, thus its taxonomic status throughout its EOO is uncertain, adding a high research interest to these populations with likely repercussions on conservation (in case of speciation events, etc.). The limited distribution of Buresch’s Crested Newt within North Macedonia and its unclear taxonomic status and possibility to hybridize call for an Endangered assessment of its national populations. Globally and in Europe, this species has been assessed as Least Concern.


Current population trend



Preliminary monitoring studies suggesting a decreasing population trend (unpublished data).

Habitat and Ecology


Terrestrial|Freshwater (=Inland waters)

Habitat and Ecology

It can be found in mountain forests (broad-leaved and coniferous species) and their surroundings; the forest steppe and even true steppe sites within the mountains. The majority of such populations are relicts of a former forest fauna. Within these landscapes, these populations inhabit slopes and plateaus covered with meadows or xerophytic vegetation. The Buresch 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 starts in late Spring or early Summer. Breeding takes place in slow moving stream pools, ponds and occasionally drainage ditches. The female deposits approximately 100-250 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.



Deforestation and pollution of wetlands with agro-chemicals appear to be the main threats to this species. Climate change can cause fluctuations in area of occupancy specifically when droughts affect reproductive centers. This is observed in the south eastern parts of the country (in Radovis, Strumica and Dojran region) as well as in the central part of the country (near Veles, Shtip and Negotino).
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, 2016) in 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 Annex IV of the EU Birds & Habitats Directive, and on Appendix II of the Bern Convention.
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 (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



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

Arnold, N.  Ovenden, D. 2002. Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain and Europe. Collins. London’. p /.

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

Litvinchuk, S.N., Borkin, L.J., Dzukic, G., Kalezic, M.L., Khalturin, M.D. & Rosanov, J.M.  -1999. Taxonomic status of Triturus karelinii on the Balkans, with some comments about other crested newt taxa. /. /.  p 153- 163.

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

Sidorovska, V.P.  2003. Pelobatidae (Amphibia: Anura) na Balkanskiot poluostrov : Distribucija, morfoloska diferencijacija i odliki na zivotniot ciklus. Univerzitet. Sv.Kiril i Metodij. Skopje. p /.

Wielstra, B. & Arntzen, J.W. -2014. Kicking Triturus arntzeni when it’s down: large-scale nuclear genetic data confirm that newts from the type locality are genetically admixed. Univerzitet. /. /. p 381–388.

Particip. 2017. Strengthening the capacities for implementation of NATURA 2000. MoEPP. Skopje. p /.

Kalezic, M. L. and Hedgecock, D. 1980. Genetic varia- tion and differentiation of three common European newts (Triturus) in Yugoslavia. /. /. p 49-57.

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 MF, Shaffer HB, Parker JM, O’Leary C, Conlon JM, Rollins-Smith LA . 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.