Plant monitoring in Macedonia: first sighting of the waterwheel carnivorous plant after 20 years!

The IPAMed project keeps surprising its volunteers! This summer during one of the monitoring sessions at Prespa Lake IPA, volunteers of the Macedonian Ecological Society have found a rare carnivorous plant species Aldrovanda vesiculosa (waterwheel plant) that has not been sighted in this locality for over 20 years.

carnivorous plant

Indeed, this plant species has not been recorded in this IPA since 1996! Moreover, Prespa Lake IPA is the only locality in Macedonia were this plant was registered. According to the IUCN Red List this species is in the "Endangered" category. The waterwheel plant is threatened primarily by urban and commercial development, agriculture, aquaculture, natural systems modifications and pollution.

Additionally, although its effects on natural populations are still unknown, it is believed that illegal trade also threatens A. vesiculosa. Habitat degradation is common throughout the species' natural range, and very few sites, including those within conservation reserves, remain pristine. As the true extent of the species' decline has become clearer, legislative protection has been provided in virtually all countries of its distribution.

Other sightings during this field work season include: Salvinia natans in Dojran Lake and Aldrovanda vesiculosa in Prespa Lake. Both these species are rare and were not sighted in this region for the past few years.

Finally, this valuable information was shared among all botanists in Macedonia and with the IPAMed project partners.

The IPAMed project “Conserving wild plants and habitats for people in the south and east Mediterranean” is an ambitious initiative to develop plant conservation actions in the South and East Mediterranean combining the experience and expertise of Plantlife International and IUCN.

For more information: Teresa Gil

 

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