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Bohemian Gate Trail

Strážiště – the ant hill

In the region of the Gateway to Bohemia, between the villages of Velké Žernoseky, Libochovany and Kamýk, is the basalt mountain Strážiště. In the sparse birch forests here one can find very large colonies of southern wood ants (Formica rufa). Ants of this species usually do not form larger colonies, but in the most vigourous colonies in this area up to a million ants can live, in mounds built using material from plants.
Ants have their own family Formicidae (crawlers) in the order Hymenoptera (heavy-winged insects). This family is divided into more than 20 sub-families across the world, of these 5 are found in the Czech Republic (Ponerinae, Proceratiinae, Myrmicinae, Dolichoderinae and Formicinae). All species of Formica here are registered as specially protected species of wild animals.
In 2009 the local ant colonies suffered a catastrophe. It was found that almost 90% of all ant-hills were damaged or destroyed. Experts believe that the reason is a population boom in wild boars. In spite of this, the ant-hills are now recovering – the ants are resettling old hills and even creating new ones. Based on research findings, conservationists are working to help the forest ants. Nests are protected by fences, so that the wild boars cannot get at them. Forest habitats are cleared to give the ants more light and warmth. Surrounding vegetation that can dampen ant-hills is cleared to increase survival rates.



View of Velké Žernoseky from Strážiště

GPS position

N 50° 33.153', E 14° 3.340'



Památky jinak, o.s.
Věra Gruntorádová