Palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus) Formerly (Triturus Helveticus) Controlled Environment. Swimming to Surface. Lancashire, UK Palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus) Formerly (Triturus Helveticus) Controlled Environment. Swimming to Surface for air under cover of vegetation. Camouflage plays a key role in the survival on the Palmate newt as it does with all Herptilids, that is Amphibians, Reptiles etc. 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.