NIEPYLAK APOLLO ZIMĄ

W tym artykule poznasz tajemnice przetrwania niepylaka w warunkach zimowych

Zima to długi okres, do którego motyle przystosowują się na wiele różnych sposobów. Część z nich zimuje w postaci dorosłej, część podejmuje się dalekiej migracji. Niektóre, tak jak niepylak, zimę spędzają w formie jajeczek. Poznając charakterystykę cyklu niepylaka apollo, zorientujesz się że nie ma on łatwej drogi do pokonania do momentu nadejścia cieplejszych dni. Chcąc zrozumieć biologię naszego bohatera, poznajcie najdłuższy okres z jego życia jakim jest zima. Zaczniemy od preludium czyli od powstawania jaj.

autor: Krzysztof Kalemba

Zanim powstaną jajeczka 

Bardzo krótki okres lotu dorosłych motyli to czas przeznaczony głównie na parowanie i składanie jajeczek. Jajeczka muszą być zbudowane tak, aby zapewnić bezpieczne schronienie dla gąsienic w zimowych warunkach. Przy kopulacji samica zostaje zabezpieczona chitynowym [1] tworzywem nazywanym sfragis.

Samica już po kilku dniach przystępuje do składania jaj, zdolna jest ich znieść nawet do 300 sztuk. Taka ilość jajeczek zwiększa szansę na odnalezienie przez larwy rośliny żywicielskiej [2], jaką są niektóre gatunki rozchodników (Sedum), rojników (Sempervivum) i różeńców (Rhodiola).

Kopulacja niepylaka apollo (Parnassius apollo) fot.Roman Rąpała

Formowanie życia i przetrwanie

Zima i chłód to dla większości niepylaków ciężkie warunki. Czas jaki gąsienice spędzają w jajeczkach to czas, który zaważy liczebnie na ich przyszłej populacji [3].Warto zastanowić się co dzieje się z jajami po złożeniu ich przez samicę, jakie procesy odpowiadają za tak niezwykłe przemiany w przyrodzie?

Jajeczka posiadają chitynową warstwę chroniącą przyszłe gąsienice przed patogenami [4] i wilgocią. W ich skład wchodzą również rozmaite aminokwasy, białka i enzymy. Same jaja są bardzo wytrzymałe ale pozwalają na dopływ powietrza do wewnątrz, nie wszystkie wychodzą idealne i nie z wszystkich wyklują się gąsieniczki. O tym zadecyduje jeszcze sporo czynników. Już w czwartym tygodniu po ich złożeniu, w jajeczkach pojawiają się gąsienice, ale przez dalsze osiem miesięcy będą czekać w uśpieniu. Cała gromada przez okres zimowych chłodów, przeczeka do nadejścia wiosny.

Jaja niepylaka Apollo (Parnassius apollo) fot. Max Rosenberg

Oczekiwanie i reakcja

W oczekiwaniu na czas wyjścia z jaja, gąsienica doświadcza wielu prób.

Pierwszą z nich jest przedwiośnie – czas w którym temperatury mogą okresowo wzrastać na tyle, by dać fałszywy sygnał maluchom do pobudki. Taka sytuacja może zdarzyć się jeszcze jesienią, kiedy długo utrzymują się upały i ciepłe noce, a nawet zimą jeśli wystąpi nagłe ocieplenie. Wystarczy, że nocą temperatury się podniosą, a poranne promienie słońca ogrzeją jajeczka. Dla gąsienic taka zmiana oznacza śmierć, na skutek powracającego zimna i braku pożywienia. Duża liczba wyprodukowanych przez każdą samicę jajeczek zwiększa szanse na to, że część wykluje się we właściwym momencie. To jedno z wielu przystosowań do warunków w których żyje niepylak.

Na przełomie zimy i wiosny nadchodzi właściwy dla gąsienic okres przebudzenia. W zależności od regionu może być on nieco przesunięty w czasie, ale zazwyczaj jest to przełom marca i kwietnia. Może się zdarzyć również tak, że zima się przedłuży i ocieplenie przyjdzie później. W górach mamy jeszcze chłodne noce, ale czas nagli ponieważ materiał odżywczy wewnątrz jajeczka się kończy. Kiedy przyjdzie pora, gąsienice zaczną pożywiać się ścianką jaja i przegryzą jego otoczkę. Nabiorą wtedy sił i wystartują prędko w poszukiwaniu rośliny żywicielskiej.

Dorosłe, wyposażone w skrzydła niepylaki, nie należą do specjalnie ruchliwych, za to ich gąsienice są bardzo szybkie. Jeżeli te małe gąsieniczki w porę nie znajdą pożywienia, nie przetrwają. To kolejne przystosowanie zwiększające szanse na przetrwanie gatunku.

Młode gąsienice niepylaka apollo (Parnassius apollo) pożywiające w się pędami rozchodnika wielkiego (Sedum maximum) fot. KPN team

Rok z życia niepylaków to próby, szanse i wyścigi, pasmo sukcesów i porażek. Wszystko po to by zamknąć cykl i pozostawić po sobie kolejne pokolenie. Tylko w taki sposób może przetrwać gatunek żyjący w surowym i coraz szybciej zmieniającym się świecie.

[1]- chityna – związek chemiczny ( polisacharyd ) tworzący wierzchni szkielet u części organizmów wraz z białkami, solami wapnia i magnezu pozyskiwanymi wraz z pożywieniem w przypadku owadów.

[2]- roślina żywicielska – roślina której organizm potrzebuje do rozwoju w większości swojego cyklu rozwojowego.

[3]- populacja – grupa osobników jednego gatunku zamieszkująca dany obszar w określonym czasie. 

[4]-patogeny- czynniki biologiczne wywołujące choroby u organizmów żywych, należą do nich wirusy, bakterie, pierwotniaki  i grzyby.

Źródła pomocnicze :

Les Pages Entomogoliques d’Andre Lequet.

European Lepidoptera and their ecology: Parnassius apollo

http://www.pyrgus.de/Parnassius_apollo_en.html

Butterflies in Benelux / Parnassius apollo 

http://www.phagea.org/Dagvlinders/BinkMONOPAP/Bink_Monograph_Papollo.htm

Warto zajrzeć :

https://butterfly-conservation.org/news-and-blog/where-do-butterflies-and-moths-go-in-winter

The benefits of grazing for Apollo (Part 2)

By Vlado Vancura

This article is Part 2 of a series on the benefits of grazing for Apollo. You can read Part 1 here.

Forest and shrubs used to cover a much larger territory in Europe than they do today. Each part of Europe has its own history by which the forest was extensively logged and finally removed. In the case of the Carpathian mountains, this process began as early as the 14th century. It was a time when a growing density of human settlements in specific areas created pressure on the forest, with intensive logging that continued for centuries (Fred & Brommer, 2005).

This trend started to change in the last few decades, when large areas of forest were declared as protected areas. The tree line in particular became the subject of strict protection in many mountains in Europe. On top of that, large areas of the recently grazed land were abandoned, sheep were taken away and forest and shrubs spontaneously re-occupied the land. This process dramatically reduced the available habitat for Apollo, and still continues in some parts of Europe.

Active protection – grazing to stabilise the Apollo population

Like several other endangered species, the well-being of Apollo depends to a large extent on appropriate habitat and available food. Large areas which have been favourable for Apollo for several centuries are now more and more occupied by forest and shrubs. Maintaining the locality once inhabited by Apollo by removing trees and bushes have become important management activities.  

Removing the bush often creates appropriate conditions, particularly enlarging food-plant resources, for the larvae and butterflies. That activity can create fundamental conditions to support a stable Apollo population.There are arguments that maintaining the Apollo population means keeping and protecting the open landscape as much as possible. This is particularly important in the areas where fragments of the Apollo population have survived.

Grazing is a well-tested method to maintain open landscape and keep the pressure of trees and shrubs succession under the control. Well-managed grazing can significantly contribute to controlling the self-recovery of trees and shrubs and provide favourable habitat important for Apollo, as well as provide food, nutrition and other benefits to Apollo as well as livestock.

Carefully managed grazing is just one practical example of how to support the shrinking Apollo population. Long-term cooperation between nature conservationists and managers of grazing can even help to set up Apollo reintroduction projects and to try to breed completely new colonies of this butterfly. This activity can become an interesting example not only to implement sophisticated grazing methods but also to maintain and support the protection of Parnassius apollo.

The benefits of grazing for Parnassius apollo (Part 1)

By Vlado Vancura

This article is Part 1 of a series on the benefits of grazing for Apollo. Part 2 will be published next week.

Parnassius apollo is under threat. Populations of the butterfly species have dramatically decreased in the last couple of decades. There are countries with about a 20% decrease, but also some with a much more dramatic decline of around 50%. This very much depends on the geographical region.

The analysis provides evidence that the most fragile subspecies and forms of Apollo are those from a low altitude in East and Central Europe, while forms inhabiting the higher parts of the Alps and other, mostly south European, high mountain ranges are still relatively large and strong.

Disappearing habitats – Apollo requires open habitats

One hypothesis explaining these differences is that low-altitude areas in East and Central Europe have been heavily impacted by industrialization, new development and unprecedented intensification of agriculture in the last 20 years. A significant amount of habitat and food for Apollo disappeared.

Continuing on this hypothesis, we see that this kind of development was not so obvious 20 years ago in higher mountain areas. Open landscape developed by humans in previous centuries and maintained by grazing still provided fragments of suitable habitat for Apollo. This happened despite more and more massive abandonment of the traditionally grazed landscape (Fred & Brommer, 2005).

Since the Ice Age, shrinking steppe biotypes imposed selective pressure onto local Apollo populations due to a changing climate. That pressure resulted in the adaptation to new habitats, such as mountains, screes and meadows.

Gradually, Apollo shifted from a typical steppe into a mountain-steppe species. This occurred in the Alps and probably at the southern, calcareous slopes of the Carpathian Mountains, and resulted in the emergence of numerous forms and Apollo subspecies.

Current habitat of Apollo

As a steppe and mountain-subalpine-subboreal species, Apollo occupies  different habitats within its range. It is found in heaths, shrubs, various grasslands communities in lowland biotopes, and also in small clearings in forest. Among the most typical habitats, there are alpine and subalpine grasslands, dry calcareous grasslands and slopes in upland areas.

Open landscapes such as screes, rocky habitats high in the European mountain ranges such as Alps or Carpathians, are also suitable for Apollo. To maintain stable Apollo populations, the habitat must provide food-plant for the larvae, particularly the Sedum, Serpenvivum and Teleephium sp.

Nowadays, particular Apollo forms and subspecies occupy small areas, sometimes limited to single mountain massive or even hillside, as it was documented in the Alps and the Carpathians.

Parnassius apollo seems to be a quite adaptable species. History shows that it survived dramatic weather changes and even skills to adapt to these changes significantly. That provides hope that this species, with  l support and care for its habitat from us, can survive the coming years.

Happy New Year 2023: project recap

The highlight of the year was the project kick-off conference, which took place in September in Poland. Field experts shared their knowledge on the ecology and conservation of Parnassius apollo, and members of the consortium presented the project goals, as well as activities past and present.

The official project website was launched with several articles published on the butterfly and general activities since then. The website itself is available in the project languages of English, Czech, German and Polish. In November, LIFEApollo2020 released its first project newsletter to partners. If you want to stay up to date with project news, you can subscribe here.

Citizen science campaign

Citizen science is the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge. Through citizen science, people can participate in many stages of the scientific process, from the design of the research question to data collection and volunteer mapping, data interpretation and analysis, and publication and dissemination of results.

The citizen science monitoring activities was launched by project partners in different countries by using the iNaturilist app and data from local nature protection NGOs.

Conference 2022

The memorable event of 2022 is the Kick-off conference of the LIFE Apollo2020 project. It kept what the name promised: an excellent mix of presentations and lively discussions on the topics of “Science, ecology and innovation for Parnassius apollo conservation in Central Europe”. Around 100 people gathered on-site in Jelenia Góra, in the beautiful building of Karkonosze National Park to discuss, learn, and exchange. Even more people participated online and watched the livestream of the conference on the first day.

Breeding activities

The breeding activities started in Poland. As well the breeding certification had been issued in all countries represented in the project. The plan of breeding activities was finalized, so thousands of caterpillars are going to be released in 2023.

The LIFE Apollo2020 project is thankful to everyone who was supporting and keeping in touch with the project during this year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Meadows – why do they matter and how to take care of them

Authors: Krzysztof Kalemba, Kamila Grzesiak, Julia Hava

Meadows are an intrinsic part of the Central European natural and cultural heritage. Their contribution to landscape character, farming, and folklore, make them a very important part of history and in times of global biodiversity crisis- our best allies.

Meadows – what are they and why they matter

Meadows are nowadays defined as semi-natural open areas dominated by grasses and used by humans.

Today we will focus on meadows in Central and Central-Eastern Europe – using Poland as an example.

Considering the origin of meadows, in this geographical area, we distinguish these types of meadows :

  • semi-natural
  • artificial

Mountain meadows with Tragopogon orientalis in Karkonosze Mountains . Photo by Krzysztof Kalemba

Semi-natural meadows call for our care

In the following article, we will focus mainly on semi-natural meadows created with human intervention. Why?

We are writing about them because semi-natural meadows now are often located on private or public land not related to any nature conservation purposes. The fate of these meadows depends on our consciousness as citizens and inhabitants of the areas close by.

Going back to the time before human settlements, in Central Europe, the most stable and dominant landscape was the forest. When people settled, they gradually cleared it – as a result of which arable land, buildings and semi-natural meadows developed over time. The meadows developed in this way are partly dependent on humans. Today, buildings are becoming denser and denser, and the intensity of cultivation, the use of pesticides and fertilisers in the neighbourhood and climate change on top of that are having a very negative impact on the meadows. Therefore – we should triple our efforts to take care of them.

Mowing meadows in Uniemyśl . Fot Krzysztof Kalemba

The importance of meadows for a human

As humans, we are indirectly dependent on the meadows.  This is not apparent at first glance because many relationships in ecosystems are extremely complex. However, this particular relationship is not that difficult and important to understand. Meadows are home and refuge for pollinators. Crops and the stability of ecosystems depend on pollinators, and we depend on crops and certain stability in ecosystems. This is why the protection of this type of environment is so important. 

The importance of meadows can be seen of course, in terms of the value of this type of landscape and for human inhabitants also their identity. The mosaic of fields, meadows and forests is considered for instance – traditional Polish landscape represented in paintings etc. 

In a more abstract sense, the existence of meadows as such can also be appreciated – by imagining a world without them.

We need to act here and now, regardless of what we think is the most important reason. That’s why as part of the Apollo2020 LIFE project, we encourage you to see the biodiversity of the grasslands as your local heritage and learn how to take care of it.

Meadows with Phleum pratense in Rocky Mountains / Sudetes. Fot. Krzysztof Kalemba

 Caring for the meadow- what we can do

If we want to preserve semi-natural meadows as a home for pollinators and other organisms, we need to look after them. A meadow does not have it easy when it is affected by drought or when plants, stronger than its permanent inhabitants- appear. Meadows should be supported in a specific way – these are: mowing, collecting biomass, and grazing animals – but extensively- because intensive grazing is not beneficial for a meadow. It is also important to ensure that the meadow does not lose water and that it is not overgrown by trees and shrubs.

If we follow these rules- with time it will need a little dose of human help will be needed. A  healthy meadow will be recognised by the diversity of its plants. These will allow insects to live well and us to appreciate the richness of colours, smells and sounds.

Apollo – A traffic stopper

The clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne), cousin of Parnassius apollo, is also threatened by habitat loss in Europe.

Once widespread across the state of Baden-Württemberg in Southern Germany, it is now only found in two valleys in the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of the Swabian Jura. In one of these remaining strongholds, the Mühltal valley near Münsingen and Schelklingen, authorities closed district 7410 road between the two towns for a week of major habitat management.

Supporting measures

The clouded Apollo exclusively lays its eggs on Corydalis plants, on which the hatched caterpillars feed. The Biosphere reserve has undertaken research and habitat management measures for Parnassius mnemosyne for 8 years. After research on potential habitat for the butterfly in the Mühltal, experts found that Corydalis was very common around the 7410.By cutting back the plants, they are hoping to create ideal conditions for the clouded Apollo along the busy stretch of road. Similar activities in nearby Springen have yielded great results, with just two butterflies growing to a population of 153 in a few years.

These activities will not only support clouded Apollo conservation. Species such as the southern white admiral and the pearl-bordered fritillary will also benefit from these measures. At the slight inconvenience of prolonging car travel for a week, several butterfly species will have an increased chance of survival in the area. If more local or national authorities made decisions that put species conservation first, we would save many more butterfly species.

Picture: Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

#followapollo and the efforts of our team! Combined skills in breeding, conservation of habitats, research, environmental education, and project management constitute a great combination for the success of our LIFE project

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Inconspicuous buzzers

They are called Peppered moth (Biston betularia), Silver Y (Autographa gamma), or Crepuscular burnet (Zygaena carniolica). They are usually neither as colorful nor as well-known as their famous relatives, the Small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), the Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) or the Peacock butterfly (Aglais io,). Nevertheless, moths are enormously important to our ecosystem. We explain why they are endangered and how they can be distinguished from butterflies.

They buzz around us at night and make up a large proportion of the world’s lepidopterans species, these are butterflies and moths. Around 3,000 lepidopteran species live in Germany. However, only about 100 of these species are butterflies. Worldwide, there are 180,000 lepidopterans species and 25,000 butterflies; in Austria, there are about 3,900 moth species and 200 butterflies.

It’s all about the looks

It is very widely believed that butterflies and moths differ in that they are active either during the day or at night. In German they are even called “Tagfalter” (=”day butterfly”) and Nachtfalter (=night butterfly). However, this is not quite true. In fact, some moths are also partially active during the day and do not only fly around in the dark. In the same way, there are butterflies that are active by day and night. Nevertheless, they can be easily distinguished by some other criteria – their appearance:

Antennae

The antennae of butterflies end in a club, while those of moths are pointed, combed, or feathered.

Wings

In butterflies, the wings are usually closed when at rest. In moths, on the other hand, the wings are usually spread in the resting position.

Body

The head of butterflies tends to be small and the body tends to be narrow. The bodies of moths are thick and short.

Color

Moths tend to be brownish, white or black. Some of them, for example the birch moth, have a camouflage pattern. Thus, they cannot be seen on tree bark. Most butterflies are rather bright and even colorful. Moths can also be colorful, just as day butterflies are brown. Accordingly, color is not a good distinguishing characteristic.

Endangered beneficial insects

They are on the move at night, so it is not really noticeable: many moths also pollinate flowers – only at night. They are therefore no less useful than their day-flying colleagues and, unfortunately, just as endangered. Many species are in sharp decline or have disappeared completely. 800 moth species are on Austria’s Red List, which is about 20 percent of the species that occur. The reason for this is, for example, intensive forestry and agriculture with monocultures, fertilizers and pesticides. The habitat of the butterflies is also increasingly being taken away by sealing the soil and building construction. Ornamental gardens without food plants make it difficult to find food, and light pollution is also a major problem. Fewer moths also means fewer bats and birds: many songbird species and bats depend on moths and their caterpillars as a food source for their young.

Love songs and screeching sounds

Moths produce sounds in the ultrasonic range, which some species use to warn bats that they would taste bad if eaten. Bees or wasps protect themselves from their predators by their coloration, some moths screech. However, these sounds are not audible to humans. Some species even sing love songs when looking for a mate.

A gem for humans and moths

Protecting butterflies is not that difficult. An unmowed garden with native plants such as fruit trees, willows, knapweeds or mallows and a small vegetable patch with, for example, raspberries or carrots, unsprayed of course. So not only butterflies but also people have something to snack on and the latter can enjoy the splendid appearance of the pretty flutterers.

And the Apollo?

Butterfly or moth?

Parnassius apollo is a stone-loving sun worshipper. Its beautiful coloring, small head and rather petite body are clear signs – it is a butterfly.

#followapollo and the efforts of our team! Combined skills in breeding, conservation of habitats, research, environmental education, and project management constitute a great combination for the success of our LIFE project

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How to #followapollo in real life (or not)

Have you ever seen red and white dots as hiking markers? The red-and-white dot has been a companion of mountaineers in Slovenia for almost 100 years. If you look closely at them, you can recognize the legendary dot of Apollo’s wings.

The inventor of this marking system was Alojz Knafelc. The Slovene cartographer and mountaineer got inspired by the Apollo butterfly and created the Slovene trail blaze. Originally, the paths in the mountains were marked only with stone mounds, which the guides placed in key places.

The first trail marked with a red and white dot in Slovenia was led in 1879 from Bohinj via Komarča to Triglav. The Knafelc blaze, introduced in 1922, is a white dot inside a red ring. The outer diameter should be between 8 to 10 cm (3.1 to 3.9 in), with the inner radius about half of the outer radius. If a mountaineer finds himself at a crossroad, on a rock, or does not know which direction is the right one, Knafl’c marking quickly saves him from torment.

#followapollo in East Tyrol

Each year in spring tourists come to the Defereggental valley to go on the panoramic path “Im Reich des Apollo” (“In the kingdom of Apollo”). The highest point here is 1,400 m a.s.l. the hamlet of Rajah. The road goes all the way along towards the forest on the sunny side of the Defereggen Valley, which is the perfect place to see some Apollo butterflies in their natural habitat.

The High Tauern National Park is home to hundreds of species of insects. The sunny meadows above the valley which alternate with wetter areas attract a range of various butterflies. The Apollo is found in parts of Southern Germany and the Alps, Central Europe, and the Balkans, as well as the Mediterranean and Scandinavia. Its range extends southwards to Turkey and eastwards to Central Asia.

When the Apollo is just in the name

Parnassius apollo is a popular and highly protected species in Europe. Still, some people get confused about his name. In western culture, the Apollo space mission is really popular. You can find songs and posters with famous Neil Armstrong’s quote “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Apollo Park which lies in the heart of Milson, Michigan State, is named exactly after the Apollo spaceship mission. It has a large playground with an enormous rocket, which children can climb in and on and be spun. Ironically, this park is also well-known as Butterfly Park. During a visit, visitors be able to spot Monarchs, Red and Yellow Admirals, NZ Coppers and Little Blies. No Apollo though…

Get to know more fun facts on the Apollo universe and read an article about the full history of Parnassius apollo’s name.

#followapollo and the efforts of our team! Combined skills in breeding, conservation of habitats, research, environmental education, and project management constitute a great combination for the success of our LIFE project

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Ahoj z České republiky – Introducing team Czechia

The Czech part of the project is represented by two organisations, the Czech Union for Nature Conservation Hradec Králové and Education and Information Center of Bílé Karpaty Mountains.

Practical nature conservation

The Czech Union for Nature Conservation Hradec Králové is a member of the conservation group JARO. This group protects nature in modern and yet traditional ways and they are currently one of the most active citizens‘ associations for practical nature conservation. Every year, they provide treatment for more than 900 injured wild animals at the rescue station, and over half of them are returned to the wild. However, in order to give these animals a place to be released back, nature needs to be properly cared for. The group is an expert in superbiodiversity management.

One example of their expertise is that they mow the grass depending on the time of its flowering, suppress them and help to create space for forbs. They are also engaged in clearing out woody species and forest openings. They graze sheep, goats, donkeys, and water buffalos and also help with the return of wild horses from Exmoor and backcrossed aurochs to nature. They are restoring wetlands by using heavy equipment such as bulldozers, crawlers, walking excavators, and tractors. They have already built over 50 ponds and are also abolishing old drainage canals.  They operate in the Czech Republic, Austria, part of western Slovakia, and southern Poland to protect and support the most endangered fauna, flora, and habitats.

Education and Information

Education and Information Center Bílé Karpaty has strong experience in coordination of activities in the territory of the Bílé Karpaty Biosphere Reserve (including regular cooperation with stakeholders, best practice exchange, workshops), in the mediation of services aimed at the development of the region (South-East Moravia where the Biosphere Reserve is located).

The NGO supports the advice body for municipalities and local administrations when they asses projects. The center is in charge of gaining financial resources for the region’s development and coordinates activities for all nature conservation subjects in the region. The education center manages an information data bank supporting the development of the region and cooperates with international subjects. It also provides information for tourists and visitors of the Veselí n. Moravou Town. The center gives expert counseling in the environment and nature conservation area and ensures constant preparation of printed information, methodological materials, and education tools. Education activities for school children and teachers are often organized by the center to ensure an environmental education for the public. They also work as an advisory body for the preparation of projects regarding nature reserves in the region or their development. The Center is publishing periodical printed media and is a member of national and regional networks of environmental education centers.

Get to know the members of the Czech team

Marie Petrů
Project management
Roman Manak
Dissemination
Tomáš Ernest Vondřejc
Reintroduction
Tereza Macečková
Project management
Gita Matlášková
Project management assistant
Věra Hlubučková
Financial management
Miloš Andres
Breeding and conservation actions
David Číp
Breeding and conservation actions

#followapollo and the efforts of our team! Combined skills in breeding, conservation of habitats, research, environmental education, and project management constitute a great combination for the success of our LIFE project

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive the latest news on butterfly conservation!

Learn about breeding and reintroduction in Poland

Breeding and reintroduction of Parnassius apollo have quite a history in Poland. Learn about it in this posting and join our conference (19.09.2022) for free online to learn about the breeding in the LIFE Apollo2020 project. Our breeding experts from Poland, Czechia, and Austria will discuss the legal regulations, challenges, and benefits of breeding in a session from 10:15 – 10:45 CET on 19. September 2022. You will also be able to ask questions and discuss with them!

The Apollo butterfly became extinct in the project areas at the end of the 19th century. In the early 20th century attempts were made by German entomologists to reintroduce it in the Sudetes The introduced individuals were kept in natural conditions in the years 1917–1926. Another attempt to reintroduce the Apollo butterfly, carried out in the Kruczy Kamień Reserve (Poland), took place in the years 1994-1995 and was made by  Jerzy Budzik.  

The species stayed in this location for the next 11 seasons. In 2019, Karkonosze National Park (KPN) introduced 150 pairs of Apollo butterflies in the Kruczy Kamień Reserve and 300 caterpillars on Chojnik Mountain and the meadows surrounding it. Monitoring in 2020 in both locations showed the presence of a new generation of the Apollo butterfly, which has undergone all development stages in natural conditions. Monitoring has shown that the species is able to use convenient habitats but still requires assistance by the supply of captive-bred specimens. 

The LIFE Apollo2020 project has started

In 2020 the “wild” population was supplemented with specimens from breeding – 490 individuals were released into the natural habitats: 250 in Kruczy Kamień Reserve and 240 on the Chojnik Mountain. In 2021 Karkonosze National Park introduced 1916 caterpillars and 2529 butterflies and in 2022 released 19 562 caterpillars in 12 locations. 

The Breeding farm in Karkonosze National Park

The Parnassius apollo breeding farm in Karkonosze National Park has been operating since 2016 and is located in the Karkonosze Gene Bank in Jagniątków. The farm has specialized infrastructure with breeding tents for caterpillars and imago including equipment, an automated greenhouse, a controlled irrigation system, infrastructure for breeding host plants for caterpillars, and a garden with a collection of nectarous plants. The staff at the Karkonosze Gene Bank have experience in breeding Parnassius apollo, which made it possible to start the reintroduction of the Apollo butterfly to natural sites in 2019 – 2022. KPN’s employees developed a system and methodology for breeding Apollo, which will be used and made available for the creation of new farms within the project.

What do you need to breed butterflies?

Equipment consists mainly of terrariums and foldable tents where caterpillars and imagines are held until their release. Terrariums are closed with a permeable net, which limits the access of predators and parasitoids and are placed in a  breeding tent, which protects them from snow and heavy rainfall. When imago appear they are placed in tents with nectariferous plants to mate. Fertilized females are placed in cotton sleeves in which they lay eggs. Eggs are put into glass containers for winter. Breeding tents are used both at the stage of caterpillar development and imago reproduction.

Also, you can join online and attend sessions from our project leaders in Poland. They will share the best key practices and learning points from the Apollo reintroduction process.

Learn more about breeding online at our conference

During our International conference on butterfly conservation, “Science, ecology and innovation for Parnassius apollo conservation in Central Europe”, the breeding experts of the LIFE Apollo2020 project from Austria, Poland, and Czechia will present and discuss the breeding process, legal regulations and challenges of breeding. Join this panel on Monday, 19. September 20200 from 10:15 – 10:45 CET and ask your questions and share your experiences on breeding with our experts! The participation is free of charge.

Our breeding experts look forward to a fruitful exchange with you!

#followapollo and the efforts of our team! Combined skills in breeding, conservation of habitats, research, environmental education, and project management constitute a great combination for the success of our LIFE project

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