Cikánka I National Nature Monument

The Cikánka I NNM was declared in 1988 to protect extensive feather-grass steppe growths with a wealth of thermophilous flora and fauna. The protected area also includes a ravine with tree and bush stands and covers an area of 4.59ha at elevations of 305-330 metres above sea level. The monument lies in the parish of Radotín on the southern edge of the city of Prague.
 
The geological basement of the territory is built of Slivenec and Řeporyje limestones of the Praha formations of Devonian age. The soils are predominantly shallow rendzinas.
 
The flat and elongated limestone ridge is an unsuitable locality for woody plant species and is only covered with low grasslands, which remind us strongly of a subcontinental steppe. The dominant grass is the feather-grass Stipa joannis, which grows along with crested hair-grass (Koeleria macrantha), the fescues Festuca valesiaca and Festuca rupicola, narrow-leaved meadow-grass (Poa angustifolia) and purple-stem catstail (Phleum phleoides) to form an exceptional xerothermal grassland. Many flowering herbs are at home in this grass – including squarrose knapweed (Cyanus triumfettii), cream pincushions (Scabiosa ochroleuca), the frostweed Helianthemum conum and the Austrian flax (Linum austriacum). The rare puffball fungus Bovista tomentosa and the earthstar fungus Geastrum corollinum have also been recorded here.
 
Cikánka 1 NNM is the home of an extremely rich invertebrate fauna. Mollusc species which are typical for rocky steppe such as Granaria frumentum and Pupilla sterrii occur here. Phytophagous insect species include the leaf beetles Cophtocephala rubicunda, Cryptocephalus schaefferi, Galeruca pomonae, Aphthona atrocaerulea, Aphthona herbigrada  and Cassida pannonica, the apionid weevils Apion penetrans, Apion elongulatum, Apion ruficorus, Apion interjectum, Phrydiucus topiarius, Gymnaetron plantaginis and Rhynchaenus ermischi, the wingless beetles – the alfalfa snout beetle (Otiorhynclus ligustici), Otiorhynchus fillo and the weevil Trachyphloeus alternans, the ground beetles Harpalus caspius roubali, Ophonus cordatus and Panagaeus bipustulatus as well as hymenoptera such as the rare leaf-cutter bee Megachile lagopoda and the tiny bee Rophitoides canus. The butterfly fauna is of a species-diverse character and includes the critically endangered Lulworth skipper (Thymelicus acteon), Oberthür’s grizzled skipper (Pyrgus amoricanus), eastern baton blue (Pseudophilotes vicrama), common grayling (Hypparchia semele), the endangered sloe hairstreak (Satyrium acaciae) and the high brown fritillary (Argynnis adippe).
 
The Jersey tiger moth (Callimorpha quadripunctaria), which is protected under the Natura 2000 system has also been recorded here at Cikánka NNM. Notable birds in the protected area include the chiff-chaff (Phylloscopus collybita) and the wood warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix), black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros) and bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula).
 
The feather-grass steppe requires hand-cutting, so that it doesn’t become overgrown with shrubs (blackthorns and the dangerous invasive snowberry – Symphoricarpos albus). The steppe must be cut in a mosaic pattern – so that part of the grass always remains uncut, which allows the insects to continue their development or find sources of food. Cikánka I NNM has been proposed as a Site of Community Importance to protect this valuable feather-grass grassland.