Mating newts

Mating newts

The courtship and mating rituals of the male newts and the egg laying of the female newts have been a treat to watch in the heat of our polytunnel recently.

In mating mode the male newt wags his orange tummy in her direction and swishes his tail with the bright silver stripe on it to attract her attention. He never stays still as he prances around her, encouraging her to follow him. No chance for photos there as he doesn't stay still!

We did get the following photos of a female newt as she laid her eggs.

She swam around for ages choosing just the right leaf and then started to fold it around her with her back feet. She lodged her hips into the fold to lay the egg and then squashed the leaf together over the egg she had laid so it was 'glued' by a sticky secretion. All again using her hind feet. As she swam away she left the leaf folded over her egg to keep it protected from predators.

The amazing thing watching this process is that she will repeat this a hundred times a season and the plant afterwards can have almost all its leaves bent over showing us where she, and other females,  have been working.

This just shows the relationship between the wildlife that visits your pond and the plants you put in it.

Without a plant of Myosotis scorpioides like this for the female newts to manipulate with their back feet they would not easily lay their eggs in your pond. Or it could be the white flowering Myosotis scorpioides Alba - the leaf is the same as far as the newts are concerned!

We have a page in our Tips and Advice section devoted to the lifecycle of a newt - you may enjoy reading some more details and see larger views of the photos.