As far as the flora of the moor is concerned, the same rule that applied to the fauna applies here: Only species specially adapted to this environment are able to survive. Species diversity is therefore very limited in the moors.
The acidic and low-nutrient water of the high moors in particular makes it impossible for fish, amphibians, and waterfowl to survive. Snails, claims, and small crabs need lime in order to build their houses and shells, a material that is not found in the acidic, low-nutrient moors (COLDITZ, 1994).
For some insects, however, such as odonates, mosquitoes, and beetles, the moor offers optimal living conditions.
Dragonflies (odonata) are an order within the class of insects. They are distinguished by their large compound eyes and zig-zag way of flying. Dragonflies are predators that feed on smaller insects.
The larvae need primarily standing water in order to survive. On hunts for food, however, dragonflies will also fly far inland. Dragonflies will hatch from their larvae sacks in the summer when the weather is warm and dry. Then they leave their exuviae (photo) behind on the plants.
Collecting and identifying the exuviae is a common method of assessing the dragonfly population of an area. Standing water caused by ditch damming in drained moors is the perfect habitat for dragonflies.
The common hawker (Aeshna juncea), a prowling male is shown in the image, inhabit all moors in the Ore Mountains up into the ridge areas. It can be considered an index species of our mountains.
The “mating wheel” of a keeled skimmer, Orthetrum coerulescens, a rare inhabitant of the spring moors of the middle mountain areas, pictured here on the Rentzschwiese in the Geyer Forest, is also fascinating to behold.
The four-spotted chaser Libellula quadrimaculata forms a vividly colored "praenubila" on its wings in elevated temperatures, which is visible in the moors at the height of summer.
In addition to the viviparous lizard (Lacerta vivipara) , the poisonous common European viper (Vipera berus) is also native to the Ore Mountain moors. Both species give birth to live young and are capable of moving in cold temperatures. The common European viper feeds on small mammals, amphibians, and lizards. It winters about 15 to 50 cm under the earth.
The moorland clouded yellow butterfly (Colias palaeno), also called a pale Arctic clouded yellow, is directly dependent on the habitat of the high moor. The caterpillars of this butterfly feed off the leaves of the bog bilberries (Vaccinium uliginosum), where they also pupate.
Bog bilberries grow exclusively on peat beds, thus making this butterfly reliant on the habitat of the moor. In order to survive, the moorland clouded yellow butterfly needs the blossoming plants found on the mountain meadows of the Ore Mountains. If this habitat mosaic of mountain meadow and moors is lost, the butterfly will also lose the habitat it needs to survive.
One bird that is native to the high moors is the black grouse (Lyrurus tetrix). Similar to the moorland clouded yellow butterfly, this bird belonging to the grouse group is dependent on this mix of habitats. It needs open land to search for food in as well as forests where it can find protection from the raptors that are its natural predators.
Increased surface paving and disruptions caused by leisure activities in the forest have decimated black grouse populations - whether the species will be able to survive is still questionable.
Further information on the black grouse can be found on the website of the SMUL: