Species of flora and fauna that live inside Studenchishte Marsh

The Cygnus olor nests in the Marsh; @MarjanKalevski

The Cygnus olor nests in the Marsh; @MarjanKalevski

Biological diversity in Studenchishta Swamp has been studied from different points of view, though it has never received the deserved attention despite the fact that it is part of the exceptional Ohrid Lake. Although the analyzed area of Studenchishta Swamp is relatively small, several plant communities have been identified and distinguished there, belonging to the following habitat groups: swamp and marsh vegetation and vegetation on humid meadows. Description of plant communities easily leads to distinction of habitat types found in Studenchishta Swamp. From among natural and semi-natural habitats, there are alkali swamps, marshes and humid meadows, whole anthropogenic ones include orchards, fields, gardens, houses and infrastructure facilities.

The flora of Studenchishta Swamp consists mostly of wide spread swamp species. We should bear in mind that plants of this kind in Macedonia are under strong anthropogenic pressure due to the drainage of swamps and marshes. Researches have indicated that until recently the Swamp of Studenchishta hosted 10 species that are rare in Macedonia. More than half of those, i.e. five species, are extinct, two species are probably extinct from Studenchishta Swamp while three species are endangered by extinction. Significant importance is attributed to Carex elata, but its importance is greater in the context of the relict plant community Caricetum elatae. Diatomeae flora of Ohrid Lake is relatively well studied. During the research (2010), total of 89 diatomeae species were identified. Presence of 11 endemic and four rare flora species in Macedonia (with two to five known sites) was confirmed, as well as one species to which this Swamp is the first find for Macedonia. Endemic species have been so far known for Ohrid Lake or springs near Sveti Naum.

The fauna of Studenchishta Swamp and the fauna of Ohrid Lake differ significantly. Common species for Ohrid Lake and shore waters around the lake reach 16% for gastropod fauna, 20% for tricladid fauna, 35% for oligochaeta fauna and 22.5% for chironomidae.

Based on this, we may conclude that Studenchishta Swamp‟s swamp ecosystem contributes to much greater diversity of the overall Ohrid Lake system. Data in literature and field investigations in Studenchishta Swamp indicate the presence of 34 species of dragonflies. We should bear in mind though that many of this data are outdated and some of the mentioned species are rarely found today. Studenchishta Swamp is abundant in diverse species. Four species of globally endangered species of daily butterflies found in the Swamp are interesting. It is evident that very interesting or rare species for the fauna of the Republic of Macedonia are found from among the family of ground beetles. Most of the species may be used as indicators of the state of semi-terrestrial communities in Studenchishta Swamp. Nine species of planarians have been known for the springs near Studenchishta Swamp. Most of these species are endemic for the springs along the shore area of Ohrid Lake (Studenchishta, Bejbunar, Sveti naum, Shum) or the lake itself. Seven species of rain warms are mentioned for Studenchishta Swamp and the springs which feed it (or used to feed it) out of the total of 25 found in Ohrid lake shore ecosystems. In Studenchishta Canal, as one of the water suppliers to the Swamp, at present, in certain periods of the year, there are 14 (out of the total of 17) autochthonous fish species of Ohrid lake, as well as three allochthonous (introduced) species. In the period preceding the commencement of hydro amelioration interventions in the Swamp, autochthonous fish species used to occur in major part of the Swamp, while trout was breaking into the then existing river Studenchishka Reka with its spring branches. Communication between fish from the Lake and the former areas of the Swamp was carried out mainly in the periods of natural spawning of individual fish species, as well as in the period of their hibernation. Permanent fish populations in parts of the remained Swamp, more precisely those on the left side of Studenchishta Canal and spring branches of Dlabok Dol, are the common minnow and viper. These two species belong to the category of commercially significant fish species, though they have certain bio-cenological importance as well. As different from fish, numerous amphibian species have sustainable populations in the Swamp. At least nine species are present, all included in Annexes 2 and 3 of the Bern Convention. The most important at European level are the Macedonian crested newt and yellow-bellied toad. Generally speaking, the number of reptiles in Macedonia related to wetlands is very low. At least four species are found in Studenchishta Swamp. The Swamp of Studenchishta used to be one of the most important shelters and nesting site for water birds along Ohrid lake shore, but this significance has almost gone completely. With an exception of few species of warblers, waterfowls and little bittern, there are practically no other nesting bird species in the Swamp. There is data on nesting of around twenty marshy bird species in the past. On occasions of migrations or search for food from the surrounding areas, other bird species may occur as well, primarily different species of herons, ibises, godwits (the peak of their migration corresponds with the peak of the tourist season and thus they occur on the Swamp in minimum number), harriers and ducks. Mammals in the Swamp have been insufficiently studied. Presence of otter is the most important, and there is probability for presence of several species of rodents (with no conservation significance), fox, polecat, stone marten, etc. Assessment of particular values of natural environment and wealth of natural heritage has been made in order to establish the appropriate protection of the swamp ecosystem, as well as to mobilize the potentials for future tourism development (especially educational one) and recreation on the shore area of Ohrid Lake. Valorization has been carried out by application of a series of criteria established by UNESCO for natural heritage, on the basis of recorded and observed occurrences of natural characteristics. The following criteria were taken as general and especially relevant: integrity, classification by type, representativeness, authenticity, diversity, of high harmony, or landscape value, educational purpose and recreational purpose. The analysis of swamp ecosystem and its accompanying ecosystem of humid meadows has been made on the basis of published data on different areas of natural phenomena, both for flora and fauna, as well as hydrology of the terrain. Valorization showed that Studenchishta Swamp possessed particular importance for its hydrological and geomorphological characteristics, soil composition and wealth and diversity of recorded natural phenomena and forms. Namely, presence of histosol and clayey soils, rare, endemic and threatened plant and animal species, species and habitats of conservation importance for the European Union, wealth of species, plant communities, communities with limited spread, habitats bird nesting sites.

The swamp as an ecosystem is closely related to lake ecosystem, which is characteristic aspect of the littoral area of Ohrid Lake. At present, this swamp ecosystem is the only one remained on the Lake‟s shore area (after the total destruction of the large Struga Swamp). These characteristics indicate its integrity and type and make almost exceptional phenomenon. Swamp ecosystem is featured with extraordinary age and presence of rare and endemic species. As a result, it is representative phenomenon and sample.

Plant communities found inside the Marshes

1. Scirpeto-Phragmitetum W. Koch 1926
2. Oenantheto-Roripetum Lohm. 1950
Sparganio-Glycerion Br.-Bl. et Siss. 1942 3.
3. Sparganio-Glycerietum fluitantis Br.-Bl. 1925
Magnocaricion W. Koch 1926
4. Caricetum elatae W. Koch 1926

Rare species


Fauna found inside the Marshes



Coleoptera, Carabidae

Coleoptera, Carabidae


Elaphe quatorlineata

Elaphe quatorlineata, Ardeola ralloides

Mamals: Lutra lutra, Vulpes vulpes, Mustela putorius, Martes foina and others.


Source: Study about the condition of the remaining Studenchishte Marsh


2 responses to “Species of flora and fauna that live inside Studenchishte Marsh

  1. Pingback: Say Goodbye to the Biodiversity at Europe’s Oldest Lake? – Ecological View·

  2. Pingback: Estará a biodiversidade do lago mais antigo da Europa ameaçada? · Global Voices em Português·

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