NATURA 2000: Lycaena dispar
25° 37’ 20’’ E, 43° 6’ 8’’ N — Altitude:
134 m — Area:
The Tarnovo Heights are situated along the bed of the River Yantra and comprise the hills around the town of Veliko Tarnovo. They consist of mainly karst rocky places combined with bush formations and deciduous forests. The bush formations are derivative vegetation grown in the place of xerothermic wood formations of Quercus cerris and Q. frainetto, dominated by Paliurus spina-christi, as well as xerothermic grass formations. The deciduous forests are of several types: mixed forests consisting of Tilia tomentosa, Carpinus orientalis, and Fraxinus ornus (in some places grown as secondary formations); mixed forests consisting of Quercus pubescens, Q. virgiliana, and Carpinus orientalis (in some places grown as secondary formations); and mixed forests consisting of Carpinus orientalis and Fraxinus ornus (in some places grown as secondary formations). Some parts of the region (where the forests had been destroyed) are covered by secondary grass communities. These secondary grass communities are richest in target species.
The butterfly fauna is comparatively well studied. The first data were published in Tuleschkow’ regional investigation (1930
). The main reason for the inclusion of the region is the presence of important populations of 12 of the target species [see a list below], especially Zerynthia polyxena
, Maculinea arion
and Erebia medusa
(a species that is mostly connected with the montane areas of Bulgaria).
— Target species: Zerynthia polyxena
, Parnassius mnemosyne
, Lycaena dispar
, Pseudophilotes vicrama
, Scolitantides orion
, Glaucopsyche alexis
, Maculinea arion
, Erebia medusa
, Nymphalis xanthomelas
, Melitaea trivia
, M. aurelia
, Brenthis hecate
Limestone rocky formations in the area of Tarnovo Heights, Sveta Troitsa (Photo: S. Beshkov, 10 May 2007).
Bush communities in the area of Tarnovo Heights, Sveta Troitsa (Photo: S. Beshkov, 10 May 2007).
Protection & threats:
The main threat is urbanisation due to the proximity of two big towns — Veliko Tarnovo and Gorna Oryahovitsa. Another threat is the expected growth of bushlike and wood vegetation on the secondary communities and the succession of the forest. Grazing and bush or wood clearing in some places, especially alongside electric power lines and roads, can be recommended as possible management measures.
Apart from a variety of architectural and historical reserves and monasteries, the region is also rich in karst formations and caves. These are some of the more uncommon and interesting species of moths: Saturnia pyri, Cilix asiatica, Asovia maeoticaria, Acronicta strigosa, Schrankia taenialis, Panchrysia aurea, Athetis furvula, Polyphaenis subsericata, Hadena syriaca podolica, Nola confusalis. Some of the old reference data were considered as dubious by the more modern authors which is why they have not been included here. We were impressed by the fact that the region of Tarnovo Heights has some species which are montane for other parts of the country.
Map of Tarnovo Heights area.