This species is found in southeastern Turkey, western Syrian Arab Republic, Lebanon, northwestern Jordan, Israel (the southern limit being the southern Coastal Plain [Ashkelon]) and parts of the Palestine Territories. It has been recorded from 200m below sea level (Tabbaria Lake) to around 2,750m asl (in Turkey). Records from northern Iraq require confirmation.
Habitat and Ecology
It is found in coniferous, mixed and deciduous forests (composed of birch, oaks, eastern hornbeams, alders, chestnuts, beach and rhododendrons) up to sub alpine meadows. Reproduction occurs in lakes, ponds (including temporary pools), large puddles, drainage canals, roadside ditches in meadows, slow-flowing streams and stream pools in open areas near or within forests. The number of eggs varies between 50 and 100. It can occur in some slightly modified habitats, but is rather sensitive to habitat change in the southernmost parts of its range.
The species is sporadically distributed over much of its range (although common in suitable habitats). It is generally more rare in the south because of restricted habitat availability.
Throughout its range this species is very sensitive to habitat loss through forest destruction, destruction of wetlands, overgrazing by cattle, urbanization, industrial and agrochemical pollution. In Israel it is threatened by collection for the pet trade. The southern population is more threatened by the loss of suitable breeding habitats. In Israel it is additionally threatened by spraying of pesticides to combat mosquitoes.
It is listed in the Red Data Book of Israel, and is protected by national legislation in Israel. It is present in some protected areas in Turkey, and might be present (marginally) in a protected areas in Israel.
Red List Status
Least Concern (LC)
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its relative wide distribution, tolerance of a degree of habitat modification, presumed large population, and because it is unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category. This species might be close to qualifying for Near Threatened if it is shown to be in rapid decline, or if its Area of Occupancy is shown to be very small.
We follow Litvinchuk et al. (2005) in separating Ommatotriton ophryticus from this species.
Kurtuluş Olgun, Jan Willem Arntzen, Theodore Papenfuss, Gad Degani, Ismail Ugurtas, Ahmad Disi, Max Sparreboom, Steven Anderson, Riyad Sadek, Souad Hraoui-Bloquet, Avital Gasith, Eldad Elron, Sarig Gafny, Yehudah Werner, Aziz Avci, Nazan Üzüm 2009. Ommatotriton vittatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T59480A11930635. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009.RLTS.T59480A11930635.en