Ommatotriton is a distinct taxon with a limited Asia Minor and Caucasian distribution. Recent genetic data suggest that it does not build a monophyletic group with other newts formerly included in the genus Triturus. Outgroup of Ommatotriton is a wide-spread W Palaearctic group Triturus cristatus-T.marmoratus (genus Triturus s.str), separated from Ommatotriton over 10 MYBP (Zajc & Arntzen, 1999). Ommatotriton comprises of two species - O. vittatus from the Middle East and O. ophryticus from the western half of the Caucasus Isthmus and southern coast of the Black Sea.
The species is common in Georgia. It inhabits mountain forest belt and alpine grasslands close to the upper timberline. Any kind of stagnant and slowly running waters. Breeding in April-June, some males stay in water throughout the year. Female deposits up to several hundreds of eggs wrapping them in live or fallen grasses and water plants. Male crest is higher than in any other newts.
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