The Mohelenská Serpentine Steppe National Nature Reserve
The Mohelenská Serpentine Steppe National Nature Reserve, lying on a plateau at an altitude of 260-385 m, is largely made up of serpentine soils that provide specific physical and chemical environments supporting xerothermic (hot, dry environments), Pontic-Pannonian and Sub-Mediterranean migrants, dwarf forms and dealpine species. A large part of the Reserve lies within a meander of the River Jihlava (50 m at its narrowest point) and erosion and slope processes on the left bank have created a wide rock amphitheatre up to 125 m high. The Reserve has the highest occurrence of European ground squirrels (Spermophilus citellus) in the Czech Republic.
A long-term goal of the Reserve’s management is to preserve the many unique, environment-specific plant communities and species in the Reserve (especially the xerothermophilic communities), many of which are protected, endangered or otherwise important. Important plant species include the critically endangered Notholaena marantae, Hackelii deflections and hoary ragwort (Senecio erucifolius). Faunal species of note include the spiders Euryopis episinoides, Lepthyphantes nanus, Theridion boesenbergi, the beetle Sphenoptera Antiqua and the European ground squirrel (S. citellus). The Jersey tiger butterfly (Callimorpha quadripunctaria), while abundant in the Czech Republic, is protected under the EU Natura 2000 Directive. Due to the important species and habitats found there, the Nature Reserve is registered within the Network of Sites of European Importance as ‘The Jihlava Valley’.