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Prime Butterfly Areas in Bulgaria -- Identifying and describing the most important sites for butterflies in the country
Studies of butterflies in Bulgaria have been carried out for more than 150 years. While the species distribution was more or less known (Abadjiev, 2001), their conservation was not a special priority until recently. Previously the conservation efforts were mainly focused on a particular species (the decline of butterflies has been recognised for many years) and not on the areas which they inhabit. The first 14 sites (Prime Butterfly Areas [PBA]), covering only 7,802 ha, were identified by Abadjiev (2003) using 7 target species. However, on a national level, more species and areas need protection. The main object here was to identify and describe the most important sites for butterflies in the country, implementing a simple method using target species, in order to help the definition of the Bulgarian part of the European Union’s NATURA 2000 Network. There are more than 210 native butterfly species in Bulgaria, many of them included in the international or local nature conservation legislation. The 53 target species (see a list) were selected... [more...]


Scolitantides orion
Scolitantides orion (Pallas, 1771) — Occurs in Spain, South France, North Italy, Eastern and South-East Europe, South Fennoscandia, Turkey, Central Asia and Japan. In Bulgaria widely distributed; up to 1700 m (Vitosha: Dragalevski Manastir) (Buresch & Tuleschkow, 1930: 162). Listed as vulnerable in Red Data Book of European butterflies (van Swaay & Warren, 1999: 118)... [more...]


Lomovete — The region comprises gorges with curves and turns, deeply cut in the valley of the Rusenski Lom River and its tributaries. It is situated near the villages of Ivanovo, Pisanets, and Senovo. Very characteristic of the region are the vertical limestone walls of the canyons with lots of recesses and clefts. Other main habitats are the forests dominated by mixed forests of Quercus robur, Quercus dalechampii, Quercus pubescens, and Carpinus orientalis. There are a lot of mixed forests of Tilia tomentosa and Carpinus betulus... [more...]

Limestone plateau near the ancient city of Cherven, Cherni Lom. Habitat of Melitaea trivia (Photo S. Beshkov, May 2006).
Limestone plateau near the ancient city of Cherven, Cherni Lom

— And not only butterflies...

On going down from Dospat toward Devin, you will see that the road to Trigrad branches off to the right of Teshel. As soon as you pass the bridge, you will enter the mouth of a cool and shady gorge... It is fenced off on both sides by almost vertical mountain slopes—now as smooth as walls, now jutting out and jagged. The slopes rise high above your head—as high as the skies, as it seems. The ravine is narrow and gloomy, at some places it can reach up to thirty feet, with a swift-flowing foamy river running thunderously in the middle, sometimes along the right and sometimes along the left side of the road. The water presses hard against the stone bank like a chased flock of deer, forming small waterfalls and green whirlpools, then transforms itself into a frothing snow-white foam under the large marble blocks, only to calm down some distance further—just for a short moment—into deep pools, green or blue or clear as well water, acting as mirrors for the high and far-off sky, peeping behind the slopes in surprise... — Adventure in midnight (The life and adventures of Avakum Zahov) — Andrey Gulyashki