Palmate newt Larvae (Lissotriton helveticus) Formerly (Triturus Helveticus) Controlled Environment. Resting on a rock. Lancashire, UK Palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus) Formerly (Triturus Helveticus) Controlled Environment. Resting on a rock. Plan view of the Palmate Larvae which has gills enabling it to breath under water full time. They would die at this stage if taken out of water. The palmate newt is the smallest British amphibian. Palmate newts are very similar in general habits and behaviour to smooth newts. They are crepuscular, with activity peaking at dusk and dawn. This secretive newt spends most of the day in thick aquatic vegetation, coming out into open water only after dark Sale or commercial exchange of palmate newts is prohibited in Britain by the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.