Triturus Rafinesque, 1815

Class: Amphibia > Order: Caudata > Family: Salamandridae > Subfamily: Pleurodelinae > Genus: Triturus
9 species

Triton Laurenti, 1768, Spec. Med. Exhib. Synops. Rept.: 37. Type species: Triton cristatus Laurenti, 1768 by subsequent designation of Fitzinger, 1843, Syst. Rept.: 34. Junior homonym of Triton Linnaeus, 1758 (a gastropod).

Triturus Rafinesque, 1815, Analyse Nat.: 78. A substitute name for "Triton Dum." (= Triton Laurenti, 1768), according to Stejneger, 1907, Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus., 58: 15; and Stejneger, 1936, Copeia, 1936: 133-141. Regarded in error as a nomen nudum by Schmidtler, 2004, Sekretär, 4: 23.

Molge Merrem, 1820, Tent. Syst. Amph.: 185. Replacement name for Triton Laurenti, 1768. Synonymy by Schinz, 1822, Thierr. Naturgesch., 2: 183; Duméril, Bibron, and Duméril, 1854, Erp. Gen., 9: 121.

Oiacurus Leuckart, 1821, Isis von Oken, 9: 260. Substitute name for Triton Laurenti, 1768. Synonymy by Bonaparte, 1840, Mem. Accad. Sci. Torino, Ser. 2, 2: 405 (with Triturus, under Triton); Strauch, 1870, Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci. St. Petersbourg, Ser. 7, 16 (4): 35.

MolgaBoie, 1827, Bijdr. Naturkd. Wet., 2: 270. Incorrect subsequent spelling of Molge Merrem, 1820.

Tritonella Swainson, 1839, Nat. Hist. Fishes Amph. Rept., 2: 342. Type species: XXXX. Synonymy by Dubois and Raffaëlli, 2009, Alytes, 26: 28.

Hemisalamandra Dugès, 1852, Ann. Sci. Nat., Paris, Ser. 3, 17: 262. Type species: Triton cristatus Laurenti, 1768, by subsequent designation of Dubois and Raffaëlli, 2009, Alytes, 26: 55. Synonymy with Triton by Strauch, 1870, Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci. St. Petersbourg, Ser. 7, 16 (4): 35.

Petraponia Massalongo, 1853, Nuovi Ann. Sci. Nat., Bologna, Ser. 3, 7: 14. Type species: Petraponia nigra Massalongo, 1854, by monotypy (= Triton carnifex Laurenti, 1768). Synonymy (with Triton) by Schreiber, 1875, Herpetol. Eur.: 50.

Pyronicia Gray, 1858, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1858: 140. Type species: Salamandra marmorata Latreille, 1800, by subsequent designation of Dubois and Raffaëlli, 2009, Alytes, 26: 35, 55. Synonymy with Triton by Strauch, 1870, Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci. St. Petersbourg, Ser. 7, 16 (4): 35; Boulenger, 1882, Cat. Batr. Grad. Batr. Apoda Coll. Brit. Mus., Ed. 2: 7.

Alethotriton Fatio, 1872, Fauna Vert. Suisse, 3: 517. Type species: Triton cristatus Laurenti, 1768; by implication. Coined as a subgeneric name for the nominate subgenus of Triton, apparently to avoid tautonomy.

TriturusBoulenger, 1878, Bull. Soc. Zool. France, 3: 307. Treatment as a subgenus of Triturus.

Turanomolge Nikolskii, 1918, Fauna Rossii, Zemnovodnye: 256. Type species: Turanomolge mensbieri Nikolskii, 1918, by monotypy. Synonymy by Kuzmin, Lebedkina, and Borkin, 1995, Zool. Zh., 74: 105.

Neotriton Bolkay, 1927, Glasn. Zemaljskog Muz. Bosni Hercegov., 39: 65. Type species: Triton karelinii Strauch, 1870, by subsequent designation of Dubois and Raffaëlli, 2009, Alytes, 26: 56. Coined as a subgenus of Triton.

English Names

Alpine Newts (Frank and Ramus, 1995, Compl. Guide Scient. Common Names Amph. Rept. World: 36).


England, Scandinavia, continental Europe, Asia Minor around the Black Sea and to the western portions of the Caspian Sea, eastward to the Ural Mountains of Russia.


Bucci-Innocenti, Ragghianti, and Mancino, 1983, Copeia, 1983: 662-672, who reported on karyology, discussed phylogenetic relationships within the genus (sensu lato, including what is now Lissotriton and Mesotriton), and recognized several former subspecies of Triturus cristatus as species. Busack, Jericho, Maxson, and Uzzell, 1988, Herpetologica, 44: 307-316, suggested a phylogeny on the basis of immunological distance. Rafinski and Arntzen, 1987, Herpetologica, 43: 446-457, reported on allozyme variation and the phylogenetic hypotheses that extend from these data. MacGregor, Sessions, and Arntzen, 1990, J. Evol. Biol., 3: 329-373, recognized two subgenera. Titus and Larson, 1995, Syst. Biol., 44: 125-151, suggested that Triturus was paraphyletic with respect to other genera, with the Triturus alpestris most closely related to Notophthalmus, Taricha, Cynops, and Paramesotriton, and Triturus karelini more closely related to Euproctus and Neurergus. Crnobrnja-Isailovic, Džukić, Krstic, and Kalezić, 1997, Amphibia-Reptilia, 18: 321-332, discussed the evolution and biogeography of the Triturus cristatus superspecies (Triturus cristatus, Triturus dobrogicus, Triturus karelinii, and Triturus carnifex) and who noted the difficulty of distinguishing Triturus karelini and Triturus carnifex. Zacj and Arntzen, 1999, Bijdr. Dierkd., 68: 78-81, provided a phylogeny based on molecular evidence that was predicated on the assumption of "Triturus" (sensu lato) being monophyletic. Thorn and Raffaëlli, 2000, Salamand. Ancien Monde: 244-305, provided accounts. Steinfartz, Hwang, Tautz, Öz, and Veith, 2002, Amphibia-Reptilia, 23: 419-431, provided evidence of the polyphyly of Triturus, with the Triturus vulgaris group being outside of a group composed of Euproctus, Neurergus, and the Triturus cristatus group. Jehle and Faber, 2003, in Grossenbacher and Thiesmeier (eds.), Handbuch Rept. Amph. Eur., 4(IIA): 411-419, provided a general discussion (in the sense of including Lissotriton and Mesotriton. Arntzen, 2003, in Grossenbacher and Thiesmeier (eds.), Handbuch Rept. Amph. Eur., 4(IIA): 421-514, provided accounts for the Triturus cristatus superspecies (Triturus carnifex, Triturus cristatus, Triturus dobrogicus, and Triturus karelini). Weisrock, Papenfuss, Macey, Litvinchuk, Polymeni, Ugurtas, Zhao, Jowkar, and Larson, 2006, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 41: 855-857, on the basis of DNA sequence evidence suggested that Triturus (as the Triturus cristatus group) is the sister taxon of Calotriton. Steinfartz, Vicario, Arntzen, and Caccone, 2007, J. Exp. Zool., 308B: 139-142, suggested on the basis of DNA sequence evidence that Triturus is the sister taxon of Calotriton. Ivanović, Sotiropoulos, Vukov, Eleftherakos, Džukić, Polymeni, and Kalezić, 2008, Biol. J. Linn. Soc., 95: 348-360, discussed cranial variation of the taxon within the framework on a molecule-based phylogenetic estimate. Ivanović, Sotiropoulos, Furtula, Džukić, and Kalezić, 2008, J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Res., 46: 381-387, discussed sexual dimorphism within the framework of a molecule-based phylogenetic estimate. Furtula, Todorovi, Simi, and Ivanović, 2009, J. Nat. Hist., London, 43: 469-477, reported on early life-history differences among the species. Espregueira Themudo, Wielstra, and Arntzen, 2009, Mol. Phylogenet. Evol., 52: 321-328, reported on molecular phylogenetics within the group. Vukov, Sotiropoulos, Wielstra, Džukić, and Kalezić, 2011, J. Zool. Syst. Evol. Res., 49: 324-334, reported on morphological evolution in the Triturus cristatus superspecies. Wielstra and Arntzen, 2014, Zootaxa, 3802: 381–388, reported on molecular phylogenetics and lineages within the taxon. Wielstra, Sillero, Vörös, and Arntzen, 2014, Amphibia-Reptilia, 35: 376-381, provided spot maps for the species of Europe. Arntzen, Wielstra, and Wallis, 2014, Biol. J. Linn. Soc., 113: 604–622, reported on multiple contract/hybrid zones among species with respect to mtDNA and nuDNA introgression; they also provided range maps for the species of Europe. 

Contained taxa (9 sp.):

External links:

Please note: these links will take you to external websites not affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History. We are not responsible for their content.