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A Skeletochronological Investigation of the Population Biology of Smooth Newts Triturus vulgaris L. at a Pond in Dublin, Ireland
Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy
Vol. 98B, No. 1 (Aug., 1998), pp. 31-36
Published by: Royal Irish Academy
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20500016
Page Count: 6
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As part of the first study of the smooth newt in Ireland, a population was monitored at a small pond in Dublin over 3 years. Non-destructive skeletochronology was used to examine the life history of this animal. The investigation has also been the first to monitor the population biology of this species and achieve accurate age estimates without the need to sacrifice large numbers of animals. Most newts were found to mature after four winters on land (4+). However, 20% of males were recorded breeding for the first time as 3+ animals, suggesting that two development strategies are open to males: (1) they can mature at 3+ without the benefits of an additional 1-year's growth on land; or (2) they can delay their maturation for 1 year and increase their potential annual reproductive output at the loss of 1 year's breeding. The oldest animals recorded were 7+, and female predominated in the oldest age classes. Annual survivorship was higher in females than males; the overall survivorship calculated for the population was 43%. A regression of total length with age proved non-significant, but the correlation between weight and age was significant.
Biology and Environment: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy © 1998 Royal Irish Academy