Newt eDNA Detection



Detection of Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus) DNA in water samples.

We have been providing an eDNA service for screening for Great Crested Newts since 2015 and we have screened hundreds of samples. We offer both standard and fast-track services, for return of results within either ten or four working days.

As one of only four labs in the UK to achieve 100% in the proficiency tests carried out in both 2017 and 2018, we successfully identified all samples as positive or negative for Great Crested Newt DNA in a ‘blind’ test. These proficiency tests have recently become a requirement of Natural England, and are organised by FAPAS (proficiency testing from Fera Science Ltd.).


Protected Species Status

Great Crested Newts are a protected species and are therefore the focus of surveys for their presence.
The season for detecting newt DNA from ponds is from mid-April until the end of June.



We provide pond water sampling kits and analyse returned samples using qPCR in order to determine the presence or absence of Great Crested Newts within sampled ponds. This work is done in accordance with the standards and protocols described in DEFRA Technical Advice Note WC1067. The analysis is carried out following the methodology outlined in Biggs et al. 2014. The results are reported as positive or negative for Great Crested Newt.



Biggs J, Ewald N, Valentini A, Gaboriaud C, Griffiths RA, Foster J, Wilkinson J, Arnett A, Williams P and Dunn F (2014) Analytical and methodological development for improved surveillance of the Great Crested Newt. Appendix 5. Technical advice note for field and laboratory sampling of great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) environmental DNA. Freshwater Habitats Trust, Oxford.

DEFRA PROJECT WC1067 - Technical advice note for field and laboratory sampling of Great Crested Newt (Triturus cristatus) environmental DNA.


Quality Controls

We include positive and negative controls: the positive is from a pond known to contain Great Crested Newts and from the negative is from a pond known to be free from them. We have demonstrated that the sensitivity of Great Crested Newt detection achieved in our laboratory matches that in Biggs et al. (2014). The limit of quantification was 3 * 10-3 ng/μL. Additionally we include our own method that allows the sample integrity to be assessed and this is an additional check in our laboratory that ensures that the data is reliable.


Crested newt


For more information and details of our charges contact Katy Maher: