Well, where should I start the story.. . maybe with a short exemplification of neoteny. Neoteny in newts and salamanders is a disorder in the metmorphosis (mostly) in cause of a disfunction of the thyroid. The metamorphosis stops at a certain point and as a result of that, the juveniles/adults keep their gills from the larvae stage (GOULD 1977). Mostly you can find single individuals in ponds, but in a view cases the big part of the population can be neotenic (HARTWIG & ROTTMANN 1940). There are reports of populations of neotenic I.alpestris up to 96%(RADOVANOVIC 1951, 1961) ! How cool is that! Let's come back to the story of how I came together with the neotenic newt you can see next to this text. In late autumn 2019 I read a lot about neoteny in european newts and salamanders and out of a funny coincidence my good friend Tim Leerschool sent me an image from a cleaning action in the pond of his parents - there were plenty of them, neotenic L.helveticus and L.vulgaris. For sure I had to photograph them and so Í went to the Netherlands with my camera and a cake for Tim's parents.
After a few rounds with the net we had some neotenic newts and the photosession could start!
Radovanovic, M., 1951. A new race of the Alpine newt from Yugoslavia. British Journal of Herpetology 1(5): 93-97.
Radovanovic, M., 1961. Neue Fundorte neotenischer Bergmolche in Jugoslawien. Zoologischer Anzeiger 166: 206-218.
GOULD, S. J. (1977): Ontogeny and Phylogeny. – Cambridge, Mass. (Harvard University Press).
HARTWIG, H. & E. ROTMANN (1940): Experimentelle Untersuchungen an einem Massenauftreten von neotenen Triton taeniatus. – Wilhelm Roux ́ Archiv für Entwicklungsmechanik der Organismen 140: 195–250.
Kropfbildungen und Pädomorphose in einer Teichmolch-Population (Lissotriton vulgaris) in Nordrhein-Westfalen THOMAS KORDGES, BURKHARD THIESMEIER, URBAN MÖLLER & HARTMUT GREVEN