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[35] Sinite Kamani

Sliven District
NATURA 2000: Lycaena dispar, Polyommatus eroides

Coordinates: 26° 22’ 28’’ E, 42° 43’ 21’’ N — Altitude: 684 m — Area: 12280 ha

Description: The Sinite Kamani (Blue Stones) region comprises part of the Sliven Mountain to the north of Sliven. The area is composed mainly of limestones. The relief is varied, steep and highly indented. The northern slopes are very steep, hard to pass, and grown with beech forests. The southern slopes are deeply cut by valleys, hollows, and screes. Large wood complexes are also formed by Sessile oak (Quercus petraea) forests, mixed forests of Turkey oak (Quercus cerris) and Sessile oak, as well as sycamore (Acer) and lime (Tilia). Because of the high altitudinal differences and variety of exposition the region is inhabited by high montane, boreomontane and Mediterranean species.

This is one of the best studied regions in Bulgaria, but the data are mainly from the first half of the last century. The first exhaustive investigations were made by Pigulew (1899—1900) and Tschorbadjiew (1919). They reported 840 butterfly species from the Macrolepidoptera group, 152 of which belong to the superfamilies Hesperioidea and Papilionoidea. The reason for including the area is the presence of populations of too many (25) target species [see a list below] on this comparatively small territory, especially Pontia chloridice and Melitaea britomartis.

Target species: Thymelicus acteon, Pyrgus cinarae, Zerynthia polyxena, Parnassius mnemosyne, P. apollo, Pieris ergane, Pontia chloridice, Lycaena dispar, Pseudophilotes vicrama, Scolitantides orion, Glaucopsyche alexis, Maculinea alcon, M. arion, Plebejus sephirus, Polyommatus eroides, P. aroaniensis, Erebia medusa, Hipparchia senthes, Apatura iris, Limenitis populi, Nymphalis xanthomelas, Melitaea trivia, M. aurelia, M. britomartis, Brenthis hecate.

The lower south-facing slopes of Sinite Kamani, 400 m. Habitat of Pontia chloridice, Glaucopsyche alexis, Hipparchia senthes (Photo: Z. Kolev, 18 May 2005).
The lower south-facing slopes of Sinite Kamani, 400 m

The upper part of Sinite Kamani in Stara Planina, 1000 m. Habitat of Pyrgus cinarae, Pieris krueperi, Maculinea alcon, Polyommatus eroides, P. aroaniensis, Erebia medusa, Melitaea trivia, M. aurelia, Brenthis ino, B. hecate (Photo: Z. Kolev, 18 May 2005).
The upper part of Sinite Kamani in Stara Planina, 1000 m

Protection & threats: The Blue Stones Natural Park and the Kushbunar landmark are situated on the territory of this region. The well-preserved Kutelka Reserve is also situated there. The main threats are urbanisation (coming from the nearby town of Sliven), agriculture, and illegal deforestation.

Other remarks: The plant species are more than 1000; 44 of them are included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria, 37 are rare, and 7 are threatened by extinction. The endemic element is very common among the rare species. 6 of the species have an international protection status. The vertebrate fauna is represented by more than 240 species, 191 of which are protected by the Biodiversity Law and 45 of which are included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria. Of great conservation importance are the predatory day and night birds (Egyptian vulture, rock eagle, cross eagle, great hawk). Other rare endemic butterfly and moth species that have to be protected are: Triodia amasinus dobrogensis, Korsheltellus lupulina dacicus, Zygaena laeta, Zygaena sedi sliwenensis, Dipchaspecia lanipes, Catopta thrips, Eriogaster catax, Malacosoma franconica, Lasiocampa grandis, Pachypasa otus, Saturnia spini, Perisomena caecigena, Lemonia balcanica, Hemaris croatica, Proserpinus proserpina, Zerynthia cerisy, Lycaena candens, Kirinia climene, Brenthis ino, Schistostege decussata, Erannis declinans, Nychiodes amigdalaria, Acronicta alni, Acronicta strigosa, Acronicta orientalis, Simyra dentinosa, Cryphia burgeffi, Hypena munitalis, Acontia titania, Calocucullia celsiae, Behounekia freyeri, Cleonymia opposita, Epimecia ustula, Amphipyra micans, Asteroscopus syriaca decipulae, Pyrrhia victorina, Pyrrhia treitschkei, Agrochola wolfschlaegeri, Conistra ragusae macedonica, Polymixis trisignata, Gortyna moesiaca, Perigrapha rorida, Standfussiana lucernea illyrica, Xestia speciosa, Euplagia quadripunctaria, Chelis maculosa slivnoensis, etc. The species Euplagia quadripunctaria and Eriogaster catax are listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive 92/43 of the European Union. There is a potential risk of fires as a result of shooting practices on the military firing ground near Mokren Village.

Map of Sinite Kamani area
Map of Sinite Kamani area.