The fauna in Podyjí NP is very interesting and extremely varied as a result of the park’s location, climate, geomorphology, and the level of preservation of the territory. We can find notable thermophilous species from the Pannonian steppe living next to typical sub-montane species of the Hercynian forests on a relatively small area. In the predominantly forested Dyje river valley and above the edges of the valley we can find varied communities of forest-free localities such as meadows, heathlands, steppe, scrub-covered areas as well as wetlands and water surfaces. Each of these biotopes is the home of many typical and interesting animal species.
The presence of 65 mammal species has been confirmed in the national park. These include 9 insectivores and significant representatives are the Lesser White-toothed Shrew (Crocidura suaveolens), and the Bi-coloured White-toothed Shrew (Crocidura leucodon), which is on the border of its range here. Podyjí also lies on the border of the ranges of the Eastern Hedgehog (Erinaceus concolor) and the Western Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus).
The populations of Bats (Chiroptera) in Podyjí are very rich and the most significant species include Geoffroy’s Bat (Myotis emarginatus) and the Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros). The majority of the bat species recorded in Podyjí belongs to the native forest types, e.g. the Barbastelle (Barbastella barbastellus). Species which are adapted to a wider range of habitat types include Brandt’s Bat (Myotis brandti) and newly discovered species include the Bat Myotis alcatoe. Rodents are represented by 17 species. The forested slopes in the valley of the Dyje are the home of the Common Dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) and the Fat Dormouse (Glis glis), which have unusually high population densities here.
Other forest rodents include the Yellow-necked Mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) and the Bank Vole (Clethrionomys glareolus). The eastern edge of the national park also lies on the border of the distribution of the steppe-living Herb Field Mouse (Apodemus microps). The Field Vole (Microtus agrestis) and the Harvest Mouse (Micromys minutus) have also been recorded in the park. The Otter (Lutra lutra) has colonised the Dyje river and its tributaries in recent years. Other predators which live permanently in the park include typical forest species such as the Pine Marten (Martes martes) and the Polecat (Mustela pistorius). The Steppe Polecat (Mustela eversmanni) and the non-indigenous American Mink (Mustela vison) have also been recorded on the territory. Large populations of the common ungulate species live in the park – Wild Boar (Sus scrofa), Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus) and Red Deer (Cervus elaphus). The population of the non-indigenous Mouflon (Ovis musimon) has been greatly reduced in recent years.
On the territory of Podyjí National Park 199 bird species have been recorded and of these birds 140 species certainly or probably nest here. On the other hand 5 species which nested here in the past have disappeared completely, or are only seen here occasionally. These are the Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix), Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus), Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis) and the Jackdaw (Corvus monedula). The regular nesting sites of the Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) were flooded after the Znojmo reservoir was built and filled with water. We can often see Kingfishers along the Dyje river but the occasional nesting site may have escaped our attention.
Bird species which are characteristic for the national park and nest here regularly include our symbolic Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), which is bound to nesting sites in the older forest stands. These biotopes are also inhabited by the Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus), Stock Dove (Columba oenas), Tawny Owl (Strix aluco), Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius), Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus), Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopus medius) and the Willow Tit (Parus montanus) while much rarer species include Tengmalm’s Owl (Aegolius funereus) and the Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva). Mixed pairs of Carrion Crows and Hooded Crows nest in the forests of the western part of Podyjí National Park. The warmer and more open forests are the habitat of the Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis), Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Wood Warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix), Collared Flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) or the Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes). The transition areas between open forest and the open countryside provide suitable habitats for the Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), Hoopoe (Upupa epops) and the Woodlark (Lullula arborea).
The extensive heathlands with groups of bushes and trees and interspersed with old orchards and meadows are the favourite habitats of the Long-eared Owl (Asio otus), Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur), Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus), Stonechat (Saxicola torquata), Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), Grasshopper Warbler (Sylvia nisoria), Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio), Golden Oriole (Oriolus oriolus), Linnet (Carduelis cannabina) and the Corn Bunting (Miliaria calandra). Along the Dyje river, which forms the backbone of the territory, we can encounter the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor), Pied and Grey Wagtails (Motacilla alba and M. cinerea), Dipper (Cinclus cinclus) and the River Warbler (Locustella fluviatilis) during their nesting seasons. Birds which can be seen hunting over the water on warm evenings include the Swift (Apus apus), Swallow (Hirundo rustica) and House Martin (Delichon urbica), while rarer visitors are the Sand Martin (Riparia riparia) and the fast-flying bird of prey – the Hobby (Falco subbuteo). The rocky slopes of the river canyon provide nesting sites for several pairs of Eagle Owls (Bubo bubo) and Grey Herons (Ardea cinerea) can often be seen resting on rocky outcrops.
In the winter the river valley is enlivened by noisy flocks of Siskins (Carduelis spinus) and on the river, which only occasionally freezes over, we can meet groups of Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) and Mallard Ducks (Anas platyrhynchos). The Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) hunts over the open landscapes in the national park and its relatives the Marsh Harrier and Montagu’s Harrier (Circus aeruginosus and C. pygargus) sometimes visit the area too. The Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor) specialises in hunting smaller prey.
Among the rarest winter visitors are the Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria) and the Alpine Accentor (Prunella collaris).
In Podyjí we can find 7 species of reptiles. The occurrence of the Aesculapian Tree Snake (Elaphe longissima) is probably of relict origin.
The largest of our snakes has been recorded at suitable localities from Znojmo to Vranov nad Dyjí (Znojmo – castle, Hradiště, Papírna, Nový Hrádek, Vraní skála, Kozí stezky etc.) and is also known on the Austrian side at Karlslustcastle and Umlaufberg. The Dice Snake (Natrix tesselata) is common all along the river between Znojmo and Vranov. The dominant reptile in forest-steppe and heathland localities is the Smooth Snake (Coronella austriaca), which we can find on the Hradiště Terraces, Kraví hora Hill, Havraníky Heathlands, above Papírna etc. The presence of the Common Viper (Vipera berus) was confirmed in 2005 near Čížov. The Emerald Lizard (Lacerta viridis) is the most notable on forest-steppe localities, heathlands and rocky outcrops in the Dyje river valley. Emerald Lizards can be found at suitable localities throughout the national park from Hnanice to Vranov nad Dyjí.
The most abundant reptile species is certainly the Common Lizard (Lacerta agilis) and the Slowworm (Anguis fragilis) can also be found on the whole territory of the national park.
In Podyjí NP 13 amphibian species have been recorded. Abundant populations of Fire Salamanders (Salamandra salamandra) can be seen in almost all of the forested areas of the park which lie close to the Dyje valley. The salamanders have suitable living conditions here in the park with rich supplies of food and a suitable microclimate. In some parts of the park we can find very large salamander population e.g. Mločí údolí – Salamander Valley which is a deeply incised side valley, or in the fragments of primeval forest stands around Ledové sluje – the Ice Caves.
The only newts which have been recorded in the park are the Smooth Newt (Triturus vulgaris), Great-crested Newt (T. cristatus) and the Italian Crested Newt (T. carnifex). The species diversity of amphibians in Podyjí NP is limited by the lack of stillwaters found here. The Common Toad (Bufo bufo) and the Green Toad (B. viridis) are relatively abundant, especially around human settlements. The Green Toads predominantly live in the drier eastern part of the park (around Znojmo, Popice, Hnanice). The Fire-bellied Toad (Bombina bombina) only occurs in small numbers and at a few localities (e.g. Hradiště, Havraníky, Popice). The presence of the Common Spadefoot (Pelobates fuscus) is regularly documented at Havraníky and Hnanice. The frogs are especially represented by the Agile Frog (Rana dalmatina), which has abundant populations throughout the national park in all locality types. The Common Frog (Rana temporaria) is rarer and the Moor Frog (Rana arvalis) has been recorded at one locality near Čížov. Green frogs which have been recorded in Podyjí are the Edible Frog (Rana esculenta) and the Marsh Frog (Rana ridibunda).
A total of 39 fish species have been recorded on the territory of Podyjí NP. The section of the Dyje river in the national park is significantly influenced by the dams and reservoirs at Znojmo and Vranov nad Dyjí. The construction of the Vranov nad Dyjí dam and reservoir in the 1930s, upstream of the current NP caused great changes in the aquatic ecosystem and significantly influenced the species composition and population dynamics of the fish fauna.
The current fish species composition and the numbers of each fish species are more or less determined by artificial stocking, sport fishing and also the predatory pressure by the cormorants. The main fish which are stocked into the river are Brown Trout (Salmo trutta m. fario) and Grayling (Thymallus thymallus). In certain stretches of the river we can still find typical species from the “barbel belt” such as Barbel (Barbus barbus) and Nase (Chandrostoma nasus). The Bullhead (Cottus gobio) and the Dace (Leuciscus leusiscus) are abundant in all of the naturally-flowing sections of the Dyje, while the Chub (Leuciscus cephalus) is common in some areas. The presence of the Gudgeon (Gobio gobio), Spined Loach (Cobitis taenia), Ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua) and Stone Loach (Noemacheilus barbatus) are of greater significance. The composition of the fish stocks in the ponds depends on deliberate or accidental stocking by humans. The populations of the disappearing Crucian Carp (Carassius carassius) in some of the ponds and pools around Podmolí is of significance. Non-indigenous fish species which are abundant in the ponds in the NP include the Topmouth Gudgeon (Pseudorasbora parva) and the Gibel Carp (Carassius auratus gibelio). The stocking of the American Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and the Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) into the Dyje river on the NP territory has already been stopped.
InvertebratesThe territory of Podyjí NP is one of the richest areas of the Czech Republic in terms of its species diversity of invertebrates. Several insect orders have been researched here in detail in recent years and the results of this research bring new information about the significance of the territory and its variety. New insect species for the Czech Republic are found and documented from Podyjí every year.
The fauna of the steppe grasslands, heathlands and waste ground especially in the eastern part of the NP is very rich and interesting. Here the influence of the Pannonian region with its typical types of non-forested biotopes is most apparent. Among the most eye-catching animals in these biotopes are the Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa) and many butterfly species, including the Southern Festoon (Zerynthia polyxena), Assmann’s Fritillary (Melitaea britomartis) and several species of Burnets (Zygaenidae). Typical beetle species include the Longhorn Beetle Dorcadion pedestre, the Scarab Beetle Potosia hungarica and a wide range of weevils, such as the Small Heather Weevil (Micrelus ericae) which lives on the heather and Bagous diglyptus which is bound to the Saxifrages. Common species include the Field Cricket (Gryllus campestris) and the Blue-winged Grasshopper (Sphingonotus coerulans). The rich fauna of spiders on the steppe localities include eye-catching ladybird spiders of the Eresus order. Very rich invertebrate communities, especially beetles and butterflies, are bound to the opportunist trees such as birches, hawthorns, wild cherries and aspen. Significant insects include the Small Eggar Moth (Eriopaster catax), which lives predominantly on the solitary hawthorns, the Jewel Beetles Dicerca furcata and Agrilus guerini and the Ground Beetle Lebia marginata.
The valley meadows along the Dyje river are significant biotopes which were formed and maintained by human activities. Not only the meadow plants are dependent on regular cutting of the meadows but many of the insects which are bound to them too. A large number of these meadow beetles are Weevils (Apionidae), and we can also find numerous butterflies on the flowering meadows, including forest species. Common species include the Dryad (Minois dryas). On meadows which are close to open forests we can find the Clouded Apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne), which feeds on the undergrowth of Fumitories (Corydalis).
Fragments of damp and waterlogged meadows have survived, especially in the western part of the park and interesting inhabitants of these wet meadows include the Lesser Marbled Fritillary (Brenthis ino) as well as the Weevil Notaris scirpi and the Long-horned Leaf Beetle Plateumaris consimilis. Many of the former meadows were no longer cultivated after the human population was evicted from the border lands and these meadows are now mostly overgrown by the forest – most often by alder stands. The fragments of alluvial forest are populated by a specific fauna and beetles which have been found here include the Weevils Anoplus roboris and the Jumping Weevil Chynchaenus testaceus. Common ground beetle species here include Carabus granulatus and Platynus assimilis. The Jewel Beetle Dicerca alni and the Longhorn Beetle Necydalis major live on the dead or dry alder trees. Shrub covered slopes, hedgerows and forest fringes are significant localities with a range of interesting animals. The Weevil Eucoelioides mirabilis has been found on the Spindle Tree (Euonymus europaeus), whereas the caterpillars of the Scarce Swallowtail (Iphiclides podalirius) develop on the blackthorn growths in sunny places. On the dry or dying Broom (Cytisus scoparius) we could encounter the Longhorn Beetle Deilus fugax, the Jewel Beetle Agrilus croaticus and the Jewel Beetle Anthaxia funerula. South-facing forest fringes and forest steppe localities in the eastern part of the national park are inhabited by a rich population of the Mantisfly Mantispa styriaca, the larvae of which develop in the cocoons of wolf spiders.
The open thermophilous oakwoods on south-facing slopes and the edges of the valley are the home of many species which are bound to the oak trees and we can find relatively strong populations of significant beetle species such as the Great Capricorn Beetle (Cerambyx cerdo), the Stag Beetle (Lucanus cervus), the Chafer Potosia affinis and the Jewel Beetles Acmaeoderella flavo fosciata and Nalanda fulgidicollis.
The fragments of semi-natural sub-montane and talus and ravine forests with a high proportion of dead wood are the home of many species of xylophagous insect species. Significant beetles which live here include the Longhorn Beetle Stictolephra erythoptera, the Click Beetle Limoniscus violaceus and the Weevil Cotaster uncipes.
Aquatic biotopes are represented by the Dyje river, which has relatively poor invertebrate populations, due to the unsuitable flow conditions downstream of the Vranov reservoir and hydroelectric plant. In some places the Beautiful Demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) and the Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens) can be found and several less common Ground Beetles e.g. Bembidion modestum and Perileptus areaolatus have been recorded on the rivers gravel banks. The tributaries of the Dyje are mostly small streams which dry up in the summer but they also pay host to interesting species such as the Giant Lacewing (Osmylus fulvicephalus). Small populations of the Broad-fingered Crayfish (Astacus astacus) can also be found on these streams.
The forest pools and wetlands are specific aquatic biotopes which are of great importance as the home of varied communities of predatory diving beetles (Dytiscidae) and water scavenger beetles (Hydrophilidae). Of interest is the repeated occurrence of the Fairy Shrimp (Eubranchipus grubii) near Podmolí. The small ponds and reservoirs also have a relatively rich fauna of aquatic beetles and several important discoveries have been made in the eastern part of the park and its buffer zone, including the Diving Beetles Bidessus unistriatus, Laccophilus poecilus and others. Interesting representatives of the dragonflies include the Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum), the Black Darter (Sympetrum danae) and the Dainty Damselfly (Coenagrion scitulum).