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[14] Karaagach

Burgas District
NATURA 2000: Lycaena dispar

Coordinates: 27° 46’ 21’’ E, 42° 13’ 24’’ N — Altitude: 2 m — Area: 64 ha

Description: The region of Karaagach is situated near the estuary of the river bearing the same name (known also as the Kitenska River) near the town of Kiten. The main plant communities consist of mixed Quercus cerris and Q. fraineto forests or of swamp and marsh vegetation (usually Phragmites australis, Typha, Heleocharis palustris, Carex, etc.) close to the river. After the parts grown with Phragmites australis is the southern bank of the river, which is covered by marshy meadows, turning further into dry meadows grown with Paliurus spina-christi, Juniperus oxycedrus, Colutea arborescens, etc. The forest south of the meadows is damp and shadowy, consisting of huge century-old Quercus frainetto trees and thick sycamore trees. The subforest consists of Ruscus aculeatus and other shadow-loving species.

The region has been studied well enough. The first investigation was done by Iltschew (1924). The reasons for including the area are the presence of important populations of 3 of the target species [see a list below], particularly Lycaena dispar and L. ottomanus, and the presence of important populations of other rare species like Melitaea arduinna.

Target species: Thymelicus acteon, Lycaena dispar, L. ottomanus.

Swamp and marsh vegetation, especially Phragmites australis and Typha along the Kitenska River, Karaagach (Photo S. Beshkov, October 2005).
Swamp and marsh vegetation, especially Phragmites australis and Typha along the Kitenska River, Karaagach

Protection & threats: The main threat for the region is the construction of resort complexes along the coastline. A possible threat is the danger of setting fires by camping holiday makers or fishermen. Some parts along the road are used for dumping building and household waste and have been turned into illegal dumping grounds. The treatment of the swampy places with insecticides to kill the mosquitoes during the holiday season can be a serious threat due to its negative effect on other insects (including butterflies) as well.

Other remarks: One of the main bird migration routes (Via Pontica) passes through this region. The following rare butterfly and moth species have been found here: Dolbina elegans, Lasiocampa grandis, Saturnia pyri, Hipparchia syriaca, Kirinia roxelana, Cleorodes lichenaia, Craniophora pontica, Eremobina pabulatricula, Senta flammea. The region is the only locality in Bulgaria for the last two species.

Map of Karaagach area
Map of Karaagach area.