Turistička zajednica grad Metković

The rich diversity of the Neretva flora and fauna

The area of the lower Nere­tva is a unique eco-system rich in various plant and ani­mal species. The river, sea and karst have created conditions under which a multitude of spe­cies have found ideal habitats. They are located in areas of both flowing and stagnant wa­ter, on the banks of the river, in the reeds, in damp meadows, in woods of alder and wil­low, but also in areas created by man: fields, embankments, canals, settlements. Previous large expanses of patchwork swamp have been reduced and controlled, surrounded by huge areas of cultivated or inhabited land. However, unlike other mi­lieux in the world, the anthropomor­phic factor has not greatly changed the nature of the val­ley. Therefore, it remains today, al­though to a lesser degree, a treasury of natural rich­ness. The original woods of the sur­rounding hills have largely disappeared and been replaced by maquis and rocky pasture; however, luscious vegetation developed in the flooded part of the delta. Judging by the size and variety of the flora, there is nothing similar in the Adriatic and its significance is especially great in the lower Neretva eco­systems. The most wide-spread freshwater plants, recognizable by their pads, is the white lily and the yellow lily. Reeds developed in more shallow water, whilst tall bull-rushes grow in drainage areas. As the water in many parts of the delta is brackish due to the influence of the sea, conditions for the development of halophytes are favourable. At the very estuary of the Neretva the association of Juncetum maritimi and the meadows of bush-shaped Caryophyllales is advanced.

The brackish quality of the Nere­tva water is a pre­condition for spawn­ing and supporting various aquatic species and the Neretva is known as the best environ­ment for freshwater and river fish in Croatia. There are various species of grey mullet, eel and snake-like fish of a complicated biologi­cal cycle. This interesting fish has aroused scientific interest for more than two thousand years - from Aristotle to Pliny, through the young Sigmund Freud, to modern biologists. While it is born and dies in the sea, it lives in freshwater rivers, but despite the enigma regard­ing its life cycle, one thing is sure - it tastes very good. The ancient writer Atheneus thought the same when he wrote an ode to it in his Gastronomic Conversations. The large green frog has become a symbol of the re­gion. We can trace it through some place names and that of a small mountain, in the names of historical counties (Zupa Zaba). It is a very popular gastronomic speciality of the region and can be combined with eel in the well-known “Neretva brujet” (brodetto). There are also vari­ous species of amphibians and reptiles, which are not eaten: grass snake, snake-lizard, Dal­matian wall lizard, etc. Numer­ous mammals live in the nearby mountains and in the valley and the Neretva is also known for a rare and endangered otter. Wolves and wild cats are also protected mammals.

Sixteen freshwater species of water snail and several spe­cies of crab live in the waters of the delta and the swamp area is also ideal for many of the 307 insects and more than 250 but­terflies.

Read 8480 times Last modified on Thursday, 05 March 2015 10:42