Around the margins
Non-biting midges and other tiny flies hatch out in vast swarms from the clear waters of the Loch in spring and summer, providing food for fish and birds. Dragonflies and damselflies are sensitive to poor water quality, but, as water quality has recovered in recent years, several species have returned, including common and black darter dragonflies and three species of damselfly. Otters hunt in burns around the Loch, and water shrews and water voles live on the banks of ditches and burns.
Loch Leven is home to several species of plants that are nationally rare or scarce, and three that are international conservation priorities - coral-root orchid, lesser water-plantain and the hybrid Loch Leven spearwort. The latter two plants, along with scarce species like mudwort and threadrush, grow on loch shores where water levels rise and fall intermittently, exposing areas of mud, sand or gravel. Rare invertebrates along the shore include a carrion beetle found on the loch strandline and a reed beetle whose larvae feed on the roots of water plants.
Wet and grassy
The wet, unimproved grasslands and pastures around the Loch also contain nationally and locally rare plants. When grazing declined around the Loch, many of these areas were invaded by scrub and we are now managing these habitats to restore open, diverse conditions. One of these wet grasslands, Carsehall Bog, supports many orchids, including lesser butterfly and purple marsh orchids. Light grazing has kept some parts of the bog open, allowing grassland flowers to flourish there. Holy grass is a nationally rare species which grows in these wet grasslands. Recent management work, combined with improved water quality, has reversed previous population declines, and holy grass is now encouragingly widespread in suitable habitats.
Last updated on Monday 17th November 2014 at 16:21 PM. Click here to comment on this page