Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ecology of the Lough Carra Limestone Region

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

The Lough Carra limestone region is one of those special places to take a walk, where you are likely to encounter many plants and animals which once filled the countryside but, sadly, in many areas, have long since disappeared. There are masses of flowers, many rare, of all colours and fragrances. Accompanying these is an abundance of butterflies and all sorts of interesting insects. The ecology and biodiversity of the area has been studied in great detail by Chris and Lynda Huxley and more information can be found on their website www.loughcarra.org

Lough Carra, Co. Mayo, situated 5km north of the town of Ballinrobe, is one of Ireland’s best examples of a hard water marl lake. The lake is a Special Protection Area and is part of the Lough Carra/Mask Complex Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The underlying rock is Carboniferous limestone and the surrounding land contains quite large areas of open limestone paving. This limestone pavement represents the northern limit of the limestone of County Clare and Galway. Limestone pavement is classed as a priority Annex I habitat under the EU Habitats Directive.

Flowers of note are dense-flowered orchid (Neotinea maculata) and birds nest orchid (Neottia nidus-avis). 17 species of orchid have been recorded. 23 species of butterfly have been identified, notably the dingy skipper (Erynnis tages), holly blue (Celastrina argiolus), marsh fritillary (Euphydryas aurinia) and grayling (Hipparchia semele). 14 species of Odonata have been recorded and of particular interest is a large population of black tailed skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum).

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamnii)

Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)

Rustyback Fern (Ceterach officinarum)

Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

Puff Ball Fungus

Peacock (Inachis io)

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia)

Dog Violet (Viola riviniana)

Devils Bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis)

Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela campestris)

Carline Thistle (Carlina vulgaris)

Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

Fossil Ammonite

1 comment:

  1. Comment box is back! A really interesting post and thanks for the link to the site - I have saved it to browse when I have time.