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Mountain newt ( Ichthyosaura alpestris ): a male shortly after taking a breath on the surface of the water

As newts different, not necessarily more closely related to amphibian species from different families of order salamanders (Caudata or Urodela), respectively. They are similar in that as adults they live in the water at least in phases - for reproduction - and develop fin fringes on the upper and lower sides of the tail.

Word origin

The word newch goes back to the Old High German mol, mol (l) o , which originally referred to amphibians in general. The unetymological variant with the final -ch can be attested since the 15th century.

Today, only those tailed amphibians that have a fin fringe in their (partial) habitat are called newts. Others with a more terrestrial way of life are often called salamanders . However, some species with a salamander in their name can be systematically closer to other newts than to other salamanders. And many newts also spend part of the year on land; Their tails are no longer flattened laterally, but rounded.

Newt species occurring in German-speaking Central Europe

(A = occurrence in Austria, CH = occurrence in Switzerland, D = occurrence in Germany, B = occurrence in Belgium)


Newts have the ability to regenerate limbs and organs after injury or loss. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute investigated this ability in the greenish water newt .

In addition, newts occasionally suffer from a so-called neoteny , in which individuals reach sexual maturity at a late larval stage. The best known example is the axolotl ( Ambystoma mexicanum ).

Web links

Wiktionary: Newch  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Pfeifer : Etymological Dictionary of German. Berlin 1989 and numerous new editions, each s. v.
  2. Molecular details of regeneration in newts
  3. How newts "mend" injured hearts