Orientation Capacity of the Yellow Spotted Newt Neurergus microspilotus (Caudata: Salamandridae)

Mozafar Sharifi, Fahimeh Akia, Mohamad Elahi


The yellow spotted newt Neurergus microspilotus inhabits scattered first order streams in highlands of western Iran. This newt moves from its terrestrial wintering grounds to breeding streams as soon as spring melt occurs (in late January and early March). Orientation toward breeding streams plays an important role in the seasonal movements and reproduction activities of this amphibian. In order to evaluate possible roles of celestial and magnetic cues in orientation of this amphibian, a group (22 individuals) of N. microspilotus has been examined in circular arenas under a variety of conditions. Animals were collected from Kavat Stream in western Iran, taken to the experimental site (approximately 4 km distant), and tested for orientation under clear night sky, overcast night sky, and in a clear night sky in the presence of an altered geomagnetic field. Analysis of the orientation courses showed that patterns of orientation significantly differed from a random ones (N = 22, P < 0.0001), if the animals choose celestial cues. Conversely, the ambient geomagnetic field does not seem to be relevant for orientation of N. microspilotus, because the animals were unable to orient using the ambient geomagnetic field in the absence of the celestial cues.


Salamandridae; Neurergus microspilotus; orientation capacity; homing ability

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30906/1026-2296-2009-16-3-163-166


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