Life in a brackish lake

In the Marlera plain region, very close to the seashore, a couple of small brackish lakes can be found (Fig. 1), that are created by rainfall during winter and by seawater brought by the big waves caused by the two typical Adriatic winds – the Sirocco (or Jugo) and Bora (or Bura), which are frequent in the Autumn/Winter period. This water is rich in Crustaceans, a prelibate food for birds like the dunlin (Calidris alpina), a migratory species which can be seen in this area for a very short period during late Autumn (Fig 2 and 3).

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Fig. 1 Small lake near the seashore where fresh and salted water mix.

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In summertime, the hot and dry weather leads to almost all of the water evaporating, therefore only small salty ponds can be seen (Fig. 4).

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Fig. 4 The lake at the beginning of July, when only small higly salted ponds are left.

Later in the sumer, no water is left and only crystalised salt remains. However, some halophile species like the plant Salicornia europaea (Fig. 5) and the insects of the genus Cicindela (tiger beetles, Fig. 6) are able to cope with such harsh conditions.

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Crabs that used to swim in the lake and small ponds are now all dead (Fig 7, 8).

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The insects attracts various predators such the common wall lizard, subspecies maculiventris. A nice specimen can be seen in the Fig. 9, inhabiting only Slovenia and Istria.

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Fig. 9 A lizard, member of the species Podarcis muralis maculiventris.

 

Photos by Borjan Radolovic

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