Triturus is a genus of European and West Asian newts, with two species
of marbled newts and seven species of crested newts. They live and breed
in vegetation-rich aquatic habitats for two to six months and usually
spend the rest of the year in shady, well-protected land habitats close
to their breeding sites. Males court females with a ritualised display,
ending in the deposition of a spermatophore that is picked up by the
female. After fertilisation, a female lays 200–400 eggs, folding them
individually into leaves of water plants. Larvae develop over two to
four months before metamorphosing into land-dwelling juveniles. The
alpine newt (Ichthyosaura alpestris), banded newts (Ommatotriton), and
small-bodied newts (Lissotriton) are now placed in other genera, leaving
the European brook newts (Calotriton) as Triturus’s closest relatives.
Although not immediately threatened, crested and marbled newts suffer
from population declines, caused mainly by habitat loss and
fragmentation. All species are legally protected in Europe, and some of
their habitats have been designated as special nature reserves.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
The Victoria (replica pictured) returned to Sanlúcar de
Barrameda, Spain, with Basque explorer Juan Sebastián Elcano and 17
other survivors of Ferdinand Magellan’s 265-man expedition, becoming the
first ship to circumnavigate the globe.
American Revolutionary War: General Benedict Arnold led British
forces to victory in the Battle of Groton Heights.
United States Secretary of State James F. Byrnes announced that
the US would follow a policy of economic reconstruction in postwar
South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, the “architect
of apartheid”, was stabbed to death by Dimitri Tsafendas.
The Millennium Summit, a meeting of world leaders to discuss
the role of the United Nations at the turn of the 21st century, opened
in New York City.
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
(literature, Ancient Greece, rare) A short humorous dramatic scene in
Wikiquote quote of the day:
Liberty means, not the mere voting at elections, but the free and
fearless exercise of the mental faculties, and that self-possession
which springs out of well-reasoned opinions and consistent practice.
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