Entire Dubrovnik region characterize plenty natural, cultural and other numerous notabilities whose appearance and diversity contribute to its beauty. Thanks to favorable ecological conditions, Dubrovnik area is inhabited with fascinating and divers animal lives which, unfortunately, loose its authentic features for human impact. It’s less known that this region is abundant with endemic and relict animals, some species are very scarce and for some of them this is marginal areal border. Even though the animal life is very interesting, it’s rather poorly explored and known only fragmentarily.
All of the Dubrovnik area boasts an abundance of natural, cultural and other sites that their number, appearance and diversity are fundamental elements of the beauty of our region. Thanks to the favorable environmental conditions, the Dubrovnik area inhabited by the interesting and varied fauna, which unfortunately due to human influence gradually loses its original characteristics. Less is known that these regions rich in endemic and relic species of wildlife and some species are very rare here, or have extreme limits area of what makes this area particularly interesting and rich. Unfortunately, although very interesting animal world is a relatively poorly researched and is known only in fragments.
Out of much zoological specificity, we would emphasize just few:
- alluvial area by Ombla wellspring in Rijeka Dubrovačka is biotope of giant water bug (Belostoma niloticum), one of the biggest insects in Europe
- Predolac near Metković is the biggest emplacement of endemic and relict subterranean bivalve Congeria kusceri in Croatia
- Pelješac is western distribution margin of the Caspian turtle (Mauremys caspica)
- endemic lizards – Dalmatian wall lizard (Podarcis melisellensis), Sharp-snouted rock lizard (Lacerta oxycephala) and subspecies of Italian wall lizard (Podarcis sicula ragusae) – inhabit very limited terrestrial and insular biotopes
- interesting populations of golden jackal (Canis aureus) on Korčula and Šipan islands, Pelješac and Konavle, ecology not known
- banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) on Mljet island – introduced species for eliminate vipers and nowadays a big problem for damages to autochthon animal life
Endemic species are very numerous among invertebrates, especially terrestrial snails, then family Clausilidae, true flies (Diptera), centipedes (Chilopoda), woodlice (Oniscidae) and earthworm (Lumbricidae). Some insect species get scientific names after Dubrovnik e.g. Dasytes ragusae (Coleoptera, Dasytidae), Phytoecia ragusana (Cerambicidae), Phyllonticheila ragusana (Hemiptera). Terrestrial malacofauna of Mljet Island is particularly diverse and include one endemic genus (Meledella) and three endemic species (Strouhaloniscus meledensis, Pergamasus meledensis, Otiorrhynchus meledanus).
This region is karstic in character and abounds with karstic formations different in texture and structure, so there are very interesting morphological objects with rich endemic and relict subterranean fauna:
- in wellspring Trsteno – Hvar niphargid shrimp (Niphargus hvarenensis)
- anchialine cave Šipun - Hadžia fragilis and other
- very rich troglobiontic fauna of lost rivers and caves near Popovo polje (Vjetrenica, Črnulja, etc) - Troglomysis vjetrenicensis, Niphargus orcinus vjetrenicensis, human fish (Proteus anguinus).
Many animals disappeared or their number drastically decreased in Dubrovnik region.
European otter (Lutra lutra) is no longer habitant of water source area in Rijeka Dubrovačka and Zaton whereas martens and weasels are rare. Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) vanished and you can hardly see thirty other bird species (especially waders) normally noted in this region according to references. Unfortunately, many species are pre extinction because of reduction of their natural habitat.
Abundance and variety of animal and plant life are engaging characteristic of our coastline and islands. Endemic and scarce species stand for original value in presentation of natural potentiality. Conserving such treasure could be achieved only if genuine natural beauties are preserved.
SO, PROTECT THE NATURE!