Algerian ribbed newt (Pleurodeles nebulosus)

French: Triton D'Algerie
GenusPleurodeles (1)
SizeLength: 23 cm (2)

The Algerian ribbed newt is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1).

A relatively little known amphibian (3), the Algerian ribbed newt (Pleurodeles nebulosus) has olive-coloured upperparts spotted with dark blotches, which become less frequent on the sides of the body. The skin is covered with wart-like lumps, except for the underside, which is smooth and yellow with black spots. The spots extend onto the legs and base of the tail. The male Algerian ribbed newt’s tail is longer than the body, and the tail is usually shorter in the female (2).

The vocalisations of Pleurodeles species include barks, clicks, squeaks and whistles (4).

The Algerian ribbed newt occurs throughout most of northern Algeria and Tunisia, although it is not found on the Edough Peninsula in northern Algeria (1) (2) (3).

The Algerian ribbed newt inhabits wetlands at low elevations, such as ponds, reservoirs, flooded fields, marshes and swamps (1) (2) (3).

The Algerian ribbed newt is a predominantly aquatic species, and courtship, breeding and larval development all typically occur in water (1) (4). Prior to mating, the male captures the female and then carries the female on its back. The male then deposits a package of sperm cells called a spermatophore, and then twists 180 degrees to face the female, who takes up the package into the cloaca. Fertilisation of the eggs is internal (4).

Breeding occurs throughout the rainy season from November to January, and the larvae remain in the breeding habitat until the beginning of April (2) (4).

The Algerian ribbed newt’s distribution is severely fragmented, and its existing habitats are decreasing in size and quality (1) (2).

The Algerian ribbed newt is also threatened by the pollution of its wetland habitat as a result of agricultural practices within the region (1).

There are not known to be any specific conservation measures currently in place for the Algerian ribbed newt.

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  1. IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
  2. AmphibiaWeb - Pleurodeles nebulosus
  3. Sicilia, A., Marrone, F., Sindaco, R., Turki, S. and Arculeo, M. (2009) Contribution to the knowledge of Tunisian amphibians: notes on distribution, habitat features and breeding phenology. Herpetology Notes, 2: 107-132.
  4. Duellman, W.E., Trueb, L. (1994) Biology of Amphibians. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.