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rethgar

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Happily every year I get to survey for newts and get paid to do it :D so I thought I'd put something together with some pics. Usually it's the presence (or absence) of T. cristatus we're interested in from a work point of view but seeing any of them is great as far as I am concerned.
Anyhow the photos are all taken in the field following bottle trap capture having put them out the night before and torch surveyed the pond. Breeding time is always the best time to see them and indeed the legally allowable survey window to submit as evidence in reports.
All these were done under my survey licence. I do have a load more I'm just not sure where my external hard drive is!
 

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rethgar

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Some further information. All the ponds were adjacent to or close to a major highway. This is the down side to doing it at work but those are the breaks! The adjacent habitat is usually a mixture of rough grassland and braod leaved plantation woodland. I don't get to see many helveticus as it's the wrong bit of the country really, which is a shame since I really like those little fellas.

This year I've been doing a lot of photographing of belly patterns for a Schnabel population index, where you compare captures to recaptures for an estimate of pond population size. Not that they are terribly cooperative and I've yet to find a way to get a consistent photo. If anyone has any ideas/advice that'd be great. At the moment I'm contemplating constructing some kind of box to hold them straight and flat.
 

caleb

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I've yet to find a way to get a consistent photo. If anyone has any ideas/advice that'd be great. At the moment I'm contemplating constructing some kind of box to hold them straight and flat.
Squashing them (gently) against a small sheet of perspex works well, though you might need three hands.

I've also used a box made from perspex, with a piece of foam cut to exactly the size of the box. It's possible to hold the newts upside-down using this, so you can take a photo from above rather than below.

As you don't need high-quality, high-precision photos to ID belly patterns, you may be able to get away with much less involved methods- I know of one study that just used mobile phone cameras on newts held in the hand.
 

rethgar

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Thanks for the responses. I have found the main problem is getting them straight or at least at the same shape for a comparison. Holding them is fine while they are a little torpid first thing in the morning but as the warm up... at the monment I am using a perspex sheet and trapping them between that and a weatherwriter. the results are reasonable but I think I just demand more perfection than should and some animals are more cooperative than others.
 
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