Butterfly ocellate bog fritillary | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Petra Schattanek

16 Jul. 2021 · experience nature up close

Nature Diversity Days Kleinwalserzal 2021

From July 1st – July 3rd, 2021 The "Nature Diversity Days Kleinwalsertal" were celebrating their premiere. A multi-day event with excursions and lectures for nature lovers big and small Each year there will be a different focus to gain insight into the biodiversity in Kleinwalsertal. This summer, the theme "Butterflies" marked the beginning.

In cooperation with the Viel-Falter Tagfalter Monitoring (University of Innsbruck), the Tyrolean Provincial Museums and the inatura, the first  „Natrurvielfalt Tage Kleinwalsertal“ (nature diversity days) took place under the theme "Butterflies". In addition to the 10 public program points all about these colorful insects, the main point of the Naturvielfalt Tage was to collect data of the biodiversity in Kleinwalsertal. During the three days the experts were able to document more than 200 species of butterflies and moths. A species "Lampropteryx otregiata", which was found at the Hörnlepass, has only been sighted at one other location in western Austria.

Butterfly cranberry fritillary | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Petra Schattanek

Moreover, three butterfly species classified as (critically) endangered have been sighted - the ocellate bog fritillary, the cranberry fritillary, and the large heath. The caterpillars of all three butterflies specialize on specific food plants found in various types of moors. As the moors decline, the caterpillars' food plants disappear as well. Well-preserved moorlands in Kleinwalsertal therefore still provide precious habitats for these three species of butterflies, which need to be protected.

Nature lovers of all ages were able to look over the shoulders of the experts during exciting excursions and lectures. Did you know that there are over 4,100 species of butterflies and moths in Austria, of which only 215 species are out well-known colorful butterflies? Or that native bats in austria contribute to the natural regulation of insects population by almost exclusively eating insects? 

Common Pipistrelle | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Petra Schattanek

But what do bats and butterflies actually have in common? During the excursion "Bat Night", Petra Schattanek from the University of Innsbruck provided interesting information about the night-active hunters. Since butterflies and moths are their favorite food, the math is easy: A high number of bats indicates an equally high number of insects - where the prey is, there' s also the hunter 😉 This fact also allows the assumption of a healthy biodiversity in the respective area, since butterflies are a good indicator for that. By the way... the stories about bats in the context of vampires and Count Dracula? - All fairy tales.

Nature Diversity Days 2021 "Flying diamonds" | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen

On Friday, nature enthusiasts were even allowed to help out the experts with collecting butterflies. Armed with butterfly nets and magnifying glasses, they set out into the meadows. After an brief introduction to the different butterfly species and how they can be identified, the participants were allowed to try their luck and catch butterflies and other insects. Each animal was named, written down and then released. Together, the participants were able to capture some beautiful exemplars.

Other excursions, such as the children's program with nature guide Diana Eckhoff, an excursion to the various habitats in the Ifen area with protected area supervisor Martin Bösch and a lecture on butterflies completed the supporting program.

In summary, the first nature diversity days in Kleinwalsertal were a complete success and we are already looking forward to next year. You can also take a look at our further nature-oriented events and excursions in the Kleinwalsertal.
And if you feel like going out into nature yourself to observe butterflies and other insects, we can warmly recommend the project "Viel-Falter Tagfalter Monitoring" (in website only german). You can easily register, take a simple online course, and then you're good to go. Observing butterflies is very easy and can be learned in a very short time. No previous knowledge is required. While you support science and conservation, discover the splendor and diversity of our native butterflies.

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