KPN & KP: Monitoring studies in 2022 covered 33 observation sites selected on three areas:
in the vicinity of Jelenia Góra, for the recognition of habitats in the vicinity of the place of reintroduction of Apollo’s butterfly on Chojnik sub-site,
in the vicinity of Uniemyśl Complex sub-site, for the identification of habitats in the vicinity of the Field Station of the Klub Przyrodników,
the Kaczawskie Mountains, due to the presence of closed quarries and other habitats that may be potential reintroduction sites for Apollo butterflies.
ČSOP: Monitoring of host plant Hylotelephium maximum in the CZ side of the Sudetes took place during the past year as well as monitoring of habitats in our subsite. In the near future, we need to focus on these activities which are also linked to the Citizen science campaign.
VIS: We have conducted habitat monitoring on a portion of the project sites to determine how many nectariferous and host plants are present on our project sites and to know how many host/nectariferous plants need to be seeded. While moving in the field during monitoring, we also collected seeds at appropriate times for later sowing.
EWS: Training of dogs has been completed and the first dog is certified. The first monitoring of caterpillars is planned in April 2023 in Milders, Karteis, Lofer and Virgen.
KPN: We carried out sheep grazing on an area of 9,8 ha of meadows around Chonik Mt. to improve the condition of habitats. We organized an International Shepherd Dog Competition in Karkonosze. This event is a tourist attraction and a great opportunity to promote grazing as a method of nature protection, maintenance of traditional professions (i.e. shepherd) and protection of species, including butterflies closely related to habitats like xerothermic grasslands and Molinia meadows that are dependent on this traditional form of management. We have new permissions to include to our actions new meadows near Chojnik Mt. (5ha) and we plan shrubs removal from meadows in autumn 2023.
KP: We haven’t started any active conservation actions yet. They are planned for 2023. We have obtained the necessary consents to carry out the activities from the plot owners and we are in the procedure aimed at leasing key habitats for the species within the Uniemyśl sub-site. However, we have begun the process of making arrangements for conducting active conservation activities in the Kruczy Kamień reserve.
ČSOP: Extensive debushing and deforestation on nearly 1 ha of the subsite has been done and has thus contributed to the restoration of the valuable forest-free habitat necessary for the successful reintroduction of Apollo. Monitoring of habitats has been done in the subsite as well as identification of the first stepping stones nearby. Support of the host plant population by seeding and sowing also took place; however, it is necessary to continue these activities, especially immediately after the opening of the vegetation stand.
VIS: Three sites were mowed by hand (or with the help of small machinery) and two of them were grazed by sheep. Three of the subsites were seeded with our main food plant Hylotelephium maximum at the end of 2022 and in January and February of 2023.
EWS: The first restoration was undertaken in Lofer and Fieberbrunn in 2022 in June and September. The next habitat restoration is planned after the flight period starting in September 2023 in Milders, Hinterbichl, Virgen and Leisach. Sedum and feeding plants will be planted in May/June 2023 depending on weather in Murtal, Fieberbrunn, Lofer, and the new area Fließ, Tyrol.
Our breeding farms and how they changed
KPN: The Karkonosze National Park obtained 60,518 eggs of Apollo for wintering 2021/2022 from our own breeding farm. After transferring part of the material for breeding at the Field Station of the Klub Przyrodników in Uniemyśl (209 eggs) and the breeding farm in Barchov (366 eggs), 59,943 eggs were allocated for breeding. 36,921 caterpillars hatched from them, which is 61.5% of the initial breeding material in 2022. The Karkonosze National Park has allocated 21,562 caterpillars for reintroduction, thus leaving 15,359 individuals for further breeding. In the KPN breeding farm, 1095 imago (7%) were obtained from 15,359 caterpillars, including 810 males and 285 females. We designated 51 males for reintroduction.
KP: We started breeding in a temporary portable tent. From the breeding farm in KPN we received 209 eggs, from which we eventually obtained 40 butterflies. We obtained 2866 eggs from our own breeding, which are intended for further breeding in 2023. The blueprint of the target breeding tent was made and a contractor was selected and began work on its construction. We obtained plant seedlings in the field. We have started establishing a base of nectariferous plants (host plants for imago) in the garden of the field station in Uniemyśl, as well as farming of Sedum maximum (host plant for caterpillars) in the Forestry Nursery of the Kamienna Góra Forest District in Krzeszów.
ČSOP: The breeding facility and process was established within an already existing breeding farm of the most endangered Czech butterfly species in a private facility led by Miloš Andres.
It differs from the breeding farm in KPN primarily by its size, the Czech one has a much smaller capacity – last year about 366 eggs from PL were brought in at the beginning of April and about 200 imagos have hatched.
In this breeding farm, up to thousands of individuals of different developmental stages of the Czech species of butterflies are bred; Apollo is bred in hundreds. This is the 1st ever legal breeding of Apollo in the Czech Republic. The infrastructure of the breeding facility resembles a classic 3m x 2,8m foil greenhouse, but it is covered with a scaffolding net – it protects against some external influences while remaining airy, the rainfall shade is provided by a plastic foil. The big difference is also that in the Czech breeding facility the mating is controlled – the breeder selects individuals individually for the breeding “in hand”.
VIS: The breeding station of our organization is in the construction phase. The greenhouse itself is already standing, but minor landscaping is still needed in its immediate surroundings. Also, the production of the netted part of the greenhouse and its equipment have to be arranged, which are tasks for the next month. However, we have already sown Hylotelephium maximum in the greenhouse and will shortly be sowing nectariferous plants for adult butterflies in the vicinity of the greenhouse (so far we have seeds of Centaurea jaccea agg. and Centaurea scabiosa).EWS: Specialist has been actively breeding 200 caterpillars. He is breeding the subspecies Glocknerius, Bartholomeus, Noricanus, Loferensis and Karteisjuvavus for the release. The improvements of the breeding farm will begin after the current breeding.
Other Infrastructure works
KPN: We have purchased the following equipment necessary for conservation activities:
a logistic support for KPN in the form of a 4×4 off-road vehicle,
drone for the preparation of documentation of natural habitats,
watering system garden in Centrum Informacyjne Karpacz,
wood milling machine to clearing/shrubs removal from meadows.
KP: We have obtained design documentation for the Apollo Ecocenter heating system in Uniemyśl, as well as a design for landscaping around the area station. We have also obtained a design for a breeding tent and its construction has begun. Some of the landscaping work has also begun.
VIS: Before the construction of our breeding station, we have secured the fencing of the land, which will be used not only for the breeding of Apollo butterflies but also for the cultivation of host plants and other purposes.
Since the breeding farm is located behind the village, we provided increased security not only by fencing but also by using two photo traps on poles with sending data to a mobile phone and email.
Have you become familiar with the Apollo butterfly yet? It is also worth taking a moment to look at its host plants. We will focus on Sedum, a very interesting genus of plants from an even more interesting family. And as it happens in the family, nothing is so simple and obvious.
Author : Krzysztof Kalemba
Stonecrop (Sedum spp.) is a genus of the Crassulaceae plants, including more than 600 species according to various approaches, it is worth noting that this number is still not final, as research on this group is still in progress. Members of the Crassulaceae family can be found on all continents. Most of them are succulents, i.e. plants that have adapted to life in conditions of limited water availability by storing it in their tissues. Despite this, species of succulents can be found in a variety of habitats.
Among the Central European Sedum species, we find those of large size, often forming compact clumps of shoots, and smaller ones that like to dominate the space.We will focus on species from this region, as they are of particular interest to the Apollo butterfly (Parnassius apollo) in the area of our project activities.
Big Brother and cousins
Larger stonecrop species can be found both in lowlands and in higher mountainous locations. They share a similar structure of leaves and flowers, preferences for permeable soil (involving sand, rocks or stones) and southern exposure. Most of them are subspecies of Hylotelephium telephium which in its natural form has pink flowers. One of the most common subspecies is grand stonecrop (Hylotelephium maximum, Sedum maximum), which can be found in the mountains, forests, as well as in lowland areas, also in agricultural areas. You can recognize this stonecrop by its cream-colored flowers and bluish-green leaves. In Eastern Europe, flowers of a similar color are also found in Hylotelephium telephium ssp. ruprechtii, where we more often encounter a red-colored stem. Carpathian stonecrop (Hylotelephium telephium ssp. fabaria) is a species that prefers mountain and foothill areas rich in limestone, despite its similarity to the great sedum, it has light pink to maroon flowers. Depending on the location and soil, Hylotelephium stems may take on a reddish color.
The greatest diversity is found among the smaller species of the more numerous Sedum species. Differences between the color of leaves, flowers, shape, height and growth are more noticeable. As in the case of Hylotelephium, we have here species that prefer high mountains, foothills and lowlands. Some of them like areas heavily transformed by humans. The most common and recognizable species here is the gold moss stonecrop (Sedum acre). This one loves stone and sandy areas, it will not despise rubble or tracks. Its characteristic feature is the formation of turf, compact structure and numerous yellow flowers. A twin of the tasteless stonecrop (Sedum sexangulare), with shorter leaves, definitely freer areas richer in limestone. Jenny’s stonecrop (Petrosedum rupestre) is distinguished by longer and narrower leaves, higher raised flowers. The white stonecrop (Sedum album), widespread throughout Europe, will have a similar structure but white flowers.
More Sedum and Petrosedum photos You can see here :
As is often the case with plants, there are also species of foreign origin that are widespread in Central Europe. We have always had a passion for importing other species and experimenting. In this way, the two-row stonecrop (Phemidius spurius), with pink flowers and incised, spatulate leaves, began to escape to nature in the 19th century. Another escapee was an Asian species, the butterfly stonecrop (Hylotelephium spectabile) deceptively similar to the common species of Hylotelephium in Europe. An introduced species of foreign origin for Germany, Austria and Norway was the orange stonecrop (Phedimus kamtschaticus), similar to the two-row stonecrop but with yellow flowers.
Sedum plants are considered succulents for a reason, their ability to accumulate water in leaves, stems and tubers is remarkable. They are characterized by extraordinary vitality, the ability to reproduce in several ways and several defensive features. In fear of pests, a large part of stonecrops has developed a defense system. In defense against pests, a great number of stonecrops produce alkaloids, poisonous or unpalatable substances. Their function is to discourage insects from gnawing on the plants. The gold moss stonecrop contains toxic sedamine, sodimine and nicotine. The adult grand stonecrop is also able to increase its chances of survival thanks to sedamine and piperidine, a feature that butterflies have learned to avoid. Caterpillars of the chequered blue (Scolitantides orion) and the Apollo butterfly follow their rather strict diet, feeding mainly on stonecrops. The choice of such a group of host plants has meant that they must somehow cope with the presence of alkaloids. This forces them to constantly change their feeding sites and go after plants that have not yet produced enough alkaloids to harm the caterpillars.
You can also read our article about Apollo in Winter
Alkaloids from Sedum telephium L.
Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Crassulaceae
The principle of a garden that is to be inhabited by different species is diversity. This means a variety of habitats that merge with one another freely. Meadow gradually turns into a wetland with hydrophilous plants and eventually into a pond. Meadow is partly open and partly shaded by an orchard, in places turning into a wild corner. Solitary trees and dead trunks are interspersed with rockeries with thermophilous plant species and aromatic herbs. Hedges or groups of shrubs provide shelter and food in the form of berries in autumn.
In effect, we can create a miniature landscape that will contain almost all latitude and longitude environments and thus attract the relevant animals.
Wherever possible, let’s try to grow native species of trees, shrubs and flowers. Choose species and varieties that not only produce a rich and tasty harvest, but also provide shelter and food for animals.
In the case of fruit trees, for example, it is advisable to go for native regional varieties that are best adapted to local conditions, do not suffer from disease and offer a rich variety of fruit aromas and flavours.
We buy seeds and seedlings from local gardeners and ask them if they are local native species. Native plants are not usually found in the shops of multinational companies.
Another option is to collect seeds or seedlings from the surrounding countryside. This way we do not risk introducing something non-native into the garden that will then be sown in the surrounding countryside where it will cause mischief. But this has strict rules. We never take endangered or protected species and we never take from a protected area, park or reserve.
A little wilderness
We can grow creeping or climbing shrubs (for example, blackberries and ivy), but wild species can also find their place here. It is advisable to place such a corner in a less frequented part of the garden, where nobody minds and the animals have the necessary peace and quiet. Throw in a pile of cut wood and stones or leave an old dead or gradually dying tree, which will also greatly enhance the potential of your garden.
Leave areas of tall grass. A short mown lawn is almost dead and animals will avoid it from a distance. By mowing frequently, not only will you not help the animals, but you will encourage the soil in your garden to dry out quickly.
How to care for a flowering meadow
An English-style lawn may look very pretty to some, but to animals it is synonymous with an inhospitable desert. With a flowering meadow comes insects, and with insects come the animals that feed on them – such as all our songbirds, lizards, bats and many more. The meadow provides food, shelter and a place to breed.
Flowering herbs are particularly damaged by frequent short mowing. They then fail to seed and over time grasses and groundcover plants dominate.
If we want a garden full of flowers and butterflies, we need to suppress grasses and encourage flowers as much as possible.
When mowing, try occasionally substituting a lawn mower for a traditional scythe or sickle.
How to mosaic mowing
The grasses mature gradually from May to September. To control them,they should be cut at the time of flowering.
If selective mowing of grasses is not possible, the solution is to mow in stages. For example, divide the area into three sections, which will be mowed separately once or twice a year. Primarily select the areas where the least amount of grass is currently flowering. The insects will gradually move between the strips.
Always purchase regional seeds for sowing or reseeding flowering meadows.
What to offer butterflies and bumblebees?
We should offer bumblebees and butterflies flowering herbs and woody plants for as long as possible during the year. Bumblebees, for example, wake up early in the spring, when pussy willow, coltsfoots and snowdrops are in bloom. In turn, flowering herbs in autumn can help still awake butterflies survive the delayed winter.
In addition, butterflies are also tied to their food plants, on which they lay their eggs and on which the caterpillars subsequently feed (e.g. thymus, nettle, lotus, fennel or even hawthorn). They will also fly to a dry shelter where they can survive the winter – this could be our attic or rotten wood.
Aromatic plants, especially plants from the deadnettle family (e.g. oregano, lemon balm, mint, sage, thymus), umbellifers (e.g. dill, coriander, chervil) and legume plants, are the best sources of nectar and pollen. Also basket flower, lavender, thistles, great is also holy rope and dwarf elderberry. Daisies, sunflowers and marigolds also serve well. In addition to sunflowers, bumblebees also like to visit various legumes (e.g. clover or peas). Many vegetables such as radish, dill, curcuma, black salsify or lettuce can also be left to flower and shed seed.
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