Site name and code: Łąki w okolicach Karłowic nad Stobrawą PLH160012
Site of Community Importance since 2011
Area: 933,45 ha
Administrative location: Opole voivodeship: Opole county – municipality of Popielów.
The site is located on the right and the left bank of the river Stobrawa and on both sides of the road Kuźnica Katowska – Karłowice – Popielów. Meadows are large complexes, periodically mowed (partially at the end of summer, or left without mowing) of several kilometers grasslands. In summer, when rivers rise, the site gets partly flooded by the Stobrawa.
The nearby Stobrawa river enriches the entire area with the species associated with aquatic environment, not only of the order of insects. There are also marsh and pool frogs, common frog and moor frog. In willow clusters European tree frog can be heard in summer. The river itself, heavily overgrown with aquatic plants is essential to the habitat of lowland fish species (common roach, gudgeon, european chubdace, pike, perch) and habitat for other species, including protected Eurasian water shrew, beaver and otter.
The subjects of protection
A description of the subjects of protection within the site
The family of gossamer-winged butterflies, which includes all protected items in the Łąki w okolicach Karłowic nad Stobrawą Natura 2000 site, owes its name to the color of wings of some members of the family. They are small daily butterflies, occurring in almost all terrestrial environments. In case of dusky and scarce large blue an important part of their environment are meadows where they occur. These should include meadows used extensively i.e. mowed up to once a year. Large Copper is a species closely connected to the territories situated in the coastal part of small rivers and ditches where there are the host plants of the genus sorrel Rumex.
The main threat to the existence of protected species is a change of the meadows use to agricultural land and water amelioration. Plowing meadows leads to the destruction of host plants for the blue butterflies, but also to withdraw from the habitats species of ants, which are an essential element of their full development. Intensively conducted water amelioration is the biggest threat for the large copper, by the removal and destruction of host plants it reduces the possibility of this species occurrence.
….. the site of Łąki w okolicach Karłowic nad Stobrawą is one of three sites in Opole voivodeship designated only for the conservation of the family of gossamer-winged butterflies associated with wetland meadow habitats.
….. most of the blue butterflies caterpillars shape resembles more larvae than the typical butterfly caterpillars. For part of the butterfly species of this family the next stages in the development of caterpillars depend on the presence of specific ants. About 75% of the blues to some extent associates its development with ants. This type of behavior is called myrmecophily and it may have a different form, i.e. it may be beneficial to both species (e.g. in the case of aphids and ants cooperation), be indifferent to the ants (e.g. the coppers larvae are protected by ants without giving anything in return) or even be disadvantageous for ants (dusky large blue and scarce large blue larvae feed on ants while taking advantage of their protection)
….. there are inland dunes near the “Wapienniki” hamlet in Karłowice. The dunes are a glacial remnant and create a uniform patch of loose sand that despite the succession still moves on land.