ljubljansko barje

Richness of nature

Wet meadows are inhabited by numerous species of gaily-coloured butterflies - there are no less than eighty-nine of them. As in many other butterflies, their existence is closely associated with unfertilised grasslands. At Ljubljansko Barje, some butterfly species are very common indeed, such as Small Pearlbordered Fritillary (Clossiana selene), False Heath Fritillary (Melitaea diamina) and Large Copper (Lycaena dispar). The Scarce Large Blue (Maculinea teleius) and Alcon Blue (Maculinea alcon) have greater demands, for they totally depend on a single nutrient plant species (Greater Burnet and Marsh Gentian respectively) and on certain species of host ants, which are the main diet of their caterpillars.

At Ljubljansko Barje, the last larger populations of Tufted Marbled Skipper (Carcharodus flocciferus) can be found. At places we can still chance upon False Ringlet (Coenonympha oedippus), the small brown butterfly from the list of seven critically endangered butterfly species in Europe. Together with wet grasslands, which used to be mown as late as in July and August but have been replaced by drained and intensively farmed and fertilised meadows and fields, it has totally disappeared from Spain, Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria, and is now considered the most endangered European butterfly species. This poor flier, which prefers to keep close to vegetation, sips nectar in wet meadows only from Tormentil's flowers. Some of its isolated populations can be seen only in the eastern part of Ljubljansko Barje, where eggs and caterpillars manage to survive on unmown plants or mown grass that cannot be accessed and taken away by agricultural machinery.

The Slovene writer Janez Jalen instilled Ljubljansko Barje into the minds of Slovene people through its history novel about pile dwellers "Bobri" (Beavers). As far as these animals, skilful dam builders and among those that were quite often on the plates of pile dwellers, are concerned, they were driven away from the Barje, together with high waters, ages ago. The Otter (Lutra lutra) is still a fairly common inhabitant of the Barje, although nowadays we are much more likely to meet the Muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus), which has been due to its fur spread, by man, all over the world. Apart from some smaller mammals, mostly rodents and insectivores, the Barje also often attracts, owing to the abundance of food, various species of bats, the visitors from Dinaric forests that spread along its southern margins.