Appearance of Podarcis muralis muralis in Czech Republic – Štramberk


Only a one little population of endangered Wall lizard – Podarcis muralis muralis is present in Czech Republic. This is Štramberk, small city on „pit“ massif of calcite, situated in foothills of Beskydy mountains, in Moravia region, in the east part of Czech republic. This unique place is interesting for its geology, archeology, history, culture, botany, zoology, forestry and many others relative branches of knowledge. Area is protected for its natural and historical interest.

History and present time

The first token of inhabitants in this area is building of Štramberk castle from half of 13. century. But the real beginning of people colonization started earlier. In cave complex Šipka on Kotouč hill by Štramberk was found mortal remain of Neanderthal people, lot of prehistorical animal bones and hunter instruments. Local land was almost completely economically exploited. Štramberk cadaster (949 ha, from 326m to 558m setting over sea) is poor for agricultural arable soil and all exploitable fields were cultivated (420 ha). At Middle Ages it’s been started quarrying of calcite, which is kept till present time. Present lime-pit is located at Kotouč hill (half of hill Kotouč is mined out now).

Entrance of Beskydy foothills natural park.
Wiew to Štramberk city and castle tower Trúba.

View to Štramberk city from tower Trúba (at upper side is located
pathway to old Kamenárka quarry).
Traditional „Máj“ building.

On adjacent fields were build stone walls to save the agricultural arable soil from erosion. Those stone walls are important for outstanding production of fauna and flora population as Lacerta agilis, Bombus lapidarius, Campanulla moravica, Asplenium ruta muraria and Asplenium trichomanes. In 50’s of 20th century after change of agricultural methods was abandon of cultivate a agrarian terraces. Part of terraces was planted with trees and the remain was overgrown by natural self-seeding. Typical for adjacent non forest vegetation are cascade meadows with edging of shrubbery, remains of native pastures with thermophilic species and outer forest edges. Trough agricultural intervention and planting of non autochthonous woods (spruce, birch, larch, pine) hold vegetation native character. Living proof is stable composition of herbaceous undergrowth with following species: Galium odoratum, Asarum europaeum, Primula elatior, Tithymalus amygdaloides, Senecio ovatus, Geranium robertianum, Alliaria petiolata and others. From protected species: Cephalanthera damasonium, Epipactis purpurata. On meadows and pastures are present: Agrimonia eupatoria, Colymbada scabiosa, Origanum vulgare, Bromopsis erecta, Galium verum, Polygala comosa, Trifolium montanum, Trifolium medium, Helianthemum ovatum, Salvia verticillata and other common meadow species of plants. Tops of hills are covered by relative native deciduous mixed vegetation: Tilia cordata, Acer psoudoplatanous and others non autochthonous: Acer platanoides, Tilia platyphyllos, Larix decidua, Betula pendula, Fraxinus excelsior, Picea abies. Sporadically are present: Acer campestre, Fagus sylvatica, Pinus silvestris and Abies alba. In bush level are present plants: Swida sanguinea, Sambucus nigra and rare Daphne mezereum. On calcite base of forest edges grow rare and poisonous fungus Cnocybe godeyi and edible mushrooms Hellvela ocetabulum. From insect are living in this area: rare Parnassius apollo, Papilio machaon, Melanargia galathea, Epicometis hirta, and many others.

Parnassius apollo

Extinct endemic butterfly Parnassius apollo strambergensis from colletion of Stramberk museum.

Štrambek is world-wide known thanks the appearance of endemic butterfly Parnassius apollo strambergensis in past time. This subspecies were definitely extinct in 30.years of century because of human‘s activities as liquidating of native vegetation on rock steppe by excessive quarry of calcite and by excessive collectors passion. World definitely lost this living Teritiry relic. Czech association of nature conservation organized reintroduction of Parnassius apollo back to nature from years 1980 till 1994. Indigenous Štramberk butterfly appears on Kotouč hillside (Šipka and Kamenárka reservation) and his caterpillars are bound to nutritive vegetation of Sedum album and Sedum maximum. Adult butterfly is living only few days and flyes only in shine weather and searches red and violet blossoms. After 14 years of intensive reintroduction actions now are flying hundreds of butterflies back in Štramberk nature. This is European unique reintroduction and no other butterfly was reintroduced to nature before.

Lower Kamenárka – botanic garden and arboretum

Lower Kamenárka (10ha area, setting 422m over sea) was originally old calcite quarry. The quarrying of calcite was running since 1860 till 20. years of century. After abandon of quarry lower Kamenárka was used for garbage and football pitch. Botanic garden with arboretum was found in 1996. First step for building botanic garden and arboretum was a removal of waste disposal, football pitch and scoria and cleaning of old rock relief. First plantation on uncovered bottom is dated in 1998. In Area of Kamenárka is gradually born exposition of various flora society. Here are present local species of strictly protected and endangered plants, which was originally save moved from quarry Kotouč. Another species of plants are present from different places. From unique Kotouč wetland are present here: Equisetum variegatum, Typha laxmannii, Epipactis palustris, critically endangered Myricaria germanica or zoophagous plant Pinguicula vulgaris. Ragged terrain (many of small lakes and rocks) provides good conditions for vegetating of various hygrophilous and xerophilous plants together. Just now are present here more than 1200 species of plants. The new arise of the wetland follows existing of many amphibians as: Bufo viridis, Hyla arborea, Bombina variegata, Triturus vulgaris and Triturus cristatus. On rock outcrops, slide rock fields and meadows are present various species of animals as: Oedipoda coerulescens, Cicindela campestris, Spitalia sertorius, Candidula unifasciata, Crocidura suaveolens and Coccthraustes coccothraustes. Rock steppe in this area is abundant unusually for invertebrates (only butterflies was found 1100 species). In may 1999, during the Štramberk pilgrimage time was found cave in the bottom of quarry and was called „pilgrimage cave“. This cave was found most probably earlier around year 1880 and after short time of stone quarry was burried and forget. during exploratory expedition in year 2003 speleologists descended 43m into cave. The explored part of the cave has abyss character and 52° of inclination diameter. Water from cave rises cca 1km at east. In quarry there are uncovered block accumulations of Štramberk calcite, abundant for fossilized relic of organisms. Many from fossilized organisms from this area are treasures and are exhibited in prominent European museums as in Vienna, Munich and others.

Upper Kamenárka – natural reservation

Upper Kamenárka (setting 450m over sea) is originally old calcite quarry. In upper Kamenárka was started quarrying at Middle Ages. Calcium was burn in field furnance directly on place of quarry. After starting quarrying in Kotouč hill in year 1880 and connecting Štramberk by railway to Studénka city was quarrying of calcite in upper and lower Kamenárka on ebb. In abandon wall quarry are uncovered very nice block accumulations of Štramberk calcite (lower Cretaceous formations, Těšín/Hradiště group, Bašského evolution, Slezké unit). Rock vegetation of vertical calcite walls is influenced by seedage of woods and synantropic plants which are changing native vegetation composition and primitive soils. Well preserved are upper edges of rock formations with native vegetation of: Alyssum alyssoides, Potentilla verna, Erophila verna, rare are: Festuca glauca, Melica ciliata and Medicago minima. From aggressive synantropic vegetation are extend: Echinops sphaerocephalus, Echium vulgare, Sambucus ebulus and Clematis vitalba. On rock edges, walls and quarry floors are rare present butterflies Parnassius apollo and lizards: Podarcis muralis and Lacerta agilis. Small Silver lake located in bottom of quarry is important habitat for amphibians: Triturus vulgaris, Hyla arborea, Rana temporari, Bufo viridis and is hunting ground for snake Natrix natrix. Upper Kamenárka is also terrain workplace for ecological practices of basic organisation Czech association of nature conservation in Štramberk.

Appearance of Podarcis muralis muralis

The appearance of Podarcis muralis muralis at Horní and Dolní Kamenárka at Štramberk was repeatedly reported since late 90th (Zavadil 1998, 1999, Holuša et Holuša 1999, Šapovaliv 1999, Moravec et Beneš 2000) but no detail population characteristic were given exept of work of Veselý et al. (2003) and Urban et Veselý (2004). This species is referend to critically endangered in Czech republic having the only known distribution in this locality (faunistical square 6474). During year 2005 the locality were inspected 43 times in regular 5 days intervals. Lizards were individualy caught by hand or with help of fishermans stick armed with kevlar snare. Basic morphometric and meristic data as well as the place of capture were recorded for each specimen. Each individual was released on the spot of capture. For distinguishing among the specimens fotoidentificating method sensu Steinecke et al. (2000) was used. Population size was calculated with help of MARK (White et Burnham 1999) a Ecological methodology (Krebs 1999) programes. In total 147 captures representing 104 individuals (56 males, 24 females, 24 juveniles, 43 recaptures) were recorded. Table 1 shows basic morphological characters of this population sample (for each specimen data taken after the first capture were used in analysis). Because was recorded no migration through the natural borders of locality, for the estimation of population size was counted the population to be closed. Population sizes estimated by different methods are summarised in table 2. Comparison of the morphological data with those gained from Romania (Vancea 1958), Northern Germany (Dexel 1986) and Hungary (Dely 1978) revealed no significant differences. Denzity of population (47-55 specimens/ha) is rather low comparing to southern european populations (Barbault et Mou 1988, Vogrin 1998) and similar to denzities reported from Germany (Jahnke et al. 1980, Haese 1981, Dexel 1986). Total population size (max. 220 specimens) can be marked as critical to population stability. Non convenient influences as human activities, frequent predators attacks, weather influence, etc. and combination of its, can destabilize and endanger population stability fast. For example in this area are living large lizards Lacerta agilis and inhabit all sorrounding areas. Invasion of largest Lacerta agilis into this described locality can supersede population of Podarcis muralis. Special supervision by natural conservation and biodiversity experts is needed. Last notice is to origin population of Common wall lizards in Štramberk. Either locality are not native, probably this populatin of lizards is not indigenous, this is debateable. Maybe lizards was introduced by quarry activities or by hobbyists from south east parts of Europe in past times (Šmek pers. comm.).

Tab. 1

Tab. 2
Copied from: M.VESELÝ, P.URBAN. Notes on population of Common Wall Lizard at the locality Horní and Dolní Kamenárka quarry at Štramberk - Herpetologické informace, volume 5., number 1, november 2006.

Podarcis muralis muralis, adult female
Podarcis muralis muralis, adult female

Podarcis muralis muralis, adult female
Podarcis muralis muralis, adult female

Podarcis muralis muralis, egg
Podarcis muralis muralis, adult male

Podarcis muralis muralis, adult male
Podarcis muralis muralis, adult male

Podarcis muralis muralis, adult male

Used literature

M.VESELÝ, P.URBAN. Notes on population of Common Wall Lizard at the locality Horní and Dolní Kamenárka quarry at Štramberk - Herpetologické informace, volume 5., number 1, november 2006.