Kokořínsko Protected Landscape Area

Fauna

Kokořínsko PLA is notable for the great variety of ecosystems from calcareous wetlands to acidic boreo–continental pine forests which can be found here. As a result we can find a great wealth of animal species and communities on the PLA territory. Currently we know the wetlands best of all and they provide habitats for a number of unique invertebrate species, which occur nowhere else in the Czech Republic. An example of this is the gastropod – Des Moulin´s whorl snail (Vertigo moulinsiana), a post-glacial relict which has survived in the wetlands around the Liběchovka and Pšovka rivers, even though it has been extinct in other parts of the country for thousands of years.

Other rare molluscs which inhabit the area’s wetlands include the gastropods narrow-mouthed whorl snail (Vertigo angustior), the robust pillar snail (Cochlicopa nitens) and the peaclams Pisidium amnicum and Pisidium tenuilineatum with large populations along the Liběchovka stream and smaller numbers along the Pšovka stream.

Among the spiders we can also find many rare species in Kokořínsko, for example the spider Hygrolycosa rubrofasciata and the largest Czech spider – the fishing spider (Dolomedes fimbriatus) which live here in very large populations. The comb-footed spider Enoplognatha caricis and the spider Mysmenella jobi are only known from a few localities in the Czech Republic, one of which are the wetlands of Kokořínsko. On the Pšovka wetlands near to the Mšenské pokličky rock formations, several species of caddis flies were discovered for the first time in the Czech Republic here, as well as the rare mayfly Paraleptohlebia werneri. Interesting beetles found in the area include the rare ground beetle Epaphius rivularis and the attractive European musk beetle (Aromia moschata).

Even though it is not extensive in area, the edges of the rock formations and remnants of the rocky forest steppe make up a very interesting biotope. The rocky forest steppe remnants, covered in places by loess deposits and merging into more open forest are very notable from a botanical point of view but we can also find many rare invertebrates living in this zone. These include the purse-web spiders Atypus piceus and Atypus Affinis, which are smaller versions of the North American purse-web spiders. The only locality in the Czech Republic where the rare Linyphiid spider Centromerus prudens live is in the Vlhošť Nature Reserve, which is its most easterly locality in Europe. The surviving remnants of boreo–continental pinewoods on the sandstone bedrock are also very rich in invertebrate life and are occupied by animal communities close to those found on open country (xerophylous and thermophilous) localities than in forests. The spider fauna here is extremely valuable and several species of spiders live nowhere else in the Czech Republic. This is the case with the wolf spider Alopecosa fabrilis, which is rare in the whole of Europe, and is only found in Vlhošť NR, and this is also the case with the comb-footed spider Diponea torva.

One of the most significant inhabitants of the Pšovka river is the loach Cobitis elongatoides, a fish species only recently differentiated from the spined loach (Cobitis taenia).

Other typical inhabitants of the wetlands and streams are amphibians such as smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris) and Alpine newt (Triturus alpestris), common toad (Bufo bufo), common frog (Rana temporaria) and agile frog (Rana dalmatina) are quite common here. Among rarer species we can find common tree-frog (Hyla arborea), common spadefoot (Pelobates fuscus), marsh frog (Rana ridibunda) and fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra), for which the PLA is renewing small pools at the stream springs. The Kokořínsko wetlands are not particularly rich in waterbirds and the only less common species we can expect to find here are the kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), dipper (Cinclus cinclus) and water rails (Rallus aquaticus).

Three species of crayfish have been identified in the Pšovka stream, each occupying different section of the stream with only a small overlapping of their territories. From a naturalist’s point of view, the most significant is the occurrence of the broad-fingered crayfish (Astacus astacus), but their population was decimated by the “crayfish plague” in 1998 – 1999 and currently they are only found in the upper reaches of the Pšovka. The occurrence of the North American spiny-cheek crayfish (Orconectes limosus) in the lower reaches of the Pšovka is significant for negative reasons as this crayfish forces out the native species, and may be the carrier of various diseases, including the “crayfish plague”. Constant efforts are necessary to reduce or eliminate the population of this invasive species, or at least to prevent its spread upstream on the Pšovka where they could replace the extinct crayfish Astacus leptodactylus.

The rocky areas are an important locality for many rare vertebrates. The raven (Corvus corax) and the eagle owl (Bubo bubo) nest on rocky ledges. In recent years peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) are observed in the area. On the PLA territory we know of 1 stable nesting site but there are probably 1 or 2 more in the area. Crevices in the rocks are often used as a hiding place by bats such as barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus).

Forests with a predominance of pine or mixed growths on acid soils are relatively poor in animal species, with the exception of the remnants of boreo–continental pine forests and a few small-scale enclaves. This leaves us with the deciduous forests with predominant oak and beech. Especially the more mature forest stands provide ideal nesting sites for black stork (Ciconia nigra) or for birds which nest in tree hollows, such as stock dove (Columba oenas) or Tengmalm’s owl (Aegolius funereus) and also some bat species such as the noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula). We can find very old deciduous forests, in places of a primeval type on the northern and eastern slopes of Vlhošť. The well-preserved condition of this territory is also shown by the valuable gastropod community including the rare door snail Ruthenica filograna which inhabit the area.

In the agricultural landscape the most valuable localities are the remains of former alluvial meadows and pasturelands with a southern orientation which support a notable fauna of invertebrates. The smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) also depends on these biotopes. Human settlements are often inhabited by a range of notable animal species, especially a variety of bat species. While the roof spaces of chateaux, churches and large houses are often used in summer by colonies of females with young for example greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) and the grey long-eared bat (Plecotus austriacus), cellars and caves are often used by these creatures for hibernating. These hibernating species include lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros), barbastelle bat (Barbastelle barbastellus) and greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis).