Fauna

Due to the uniqueness of the climatic conditions the Lake Basin fauna is quite diverse.

The Kingdom of Animals is divided into 2 subphylums: vertebrates and invertebrates. There are about 276 species of vertebrates in the Lake Sevan Basin, of which 48 species listedin the Red Book of Armenia, 3 species are regional endemics. Invertebrates are also varied of about 150 species, which are divided into various classes and groups.

1. Isubphylum – Vertebrates

1.1. Fish

From ancient times the Lake Sevan basin was famous due to its valuable fish species. In this region fishing was developing as the first sector of economy because of being favorite work of population. As a consequence of changes in the Lake water levels launched in the 20th century, severe socio-economiccrisis and uncontrolled hunting of the Lake fish, all together caused a drastically reduction of its amount.

The Lake is well-known for its endemic fish species.

  • Sevan ischchan (Salmo ischchan)
  • Sevan khramulya (Capoeta capoeta sevagni or Varicorhinus capoeta sevangi)
  • Sevan barbel (Barbus goktschaicus)

The Sevan ischchan is divided into 4 ecological subspecies: winter bakhtak (Salmo ischchan ischchan), summer bakhtak (Salmo ischchan aestivalis), gegharkuni (Salmo ischchan gegarkuni), bojak (Salmo ischchan danilewskii).

However, nowadays winter bakhtak and bojak have disappeared irreversibly. Summer bakhtak and gegharkuni are artificially cultivated in the Ararat valley fish farms.

Summer bakhtak and gegharkuni, as well as Sevan barbel (Barbus goktschaicus) are listed in the Red Book of Armenia.

Ձմեռային իշխան_Salmo ischchan ischchan KesslerThe biological and ecological subtypes representing the Sevan trout (Salmo ischchan Kessler) differed in morphological features. Winter ischchan or bakhtak (Salmo ischchan ischchan Kessler) – lacustrine subspecies with autumn-winter spawning period. Gegharkuni (Salmo ischchan gegarkuni Kessler) is reproducing in the rivers in fall and winter seasons. Summer ischchan or bakhtak (Salmo ischchan aestivalis Fortunatov) spawning in spring in the rivers. Bojak (Salmo ischchan danilewskii Iakowlev) is lacustrine dwarf typewith reproduction period in winter-early spring.

Սևանի կողակ_Varicorhinus capoeta sevangiSevan khramulya (Capoeta capoeta sevagni De Filippi, 1865 or Varicorhinus capoeta sevangi) is represented by lacustrine, lacustrine-fluvial forms, as well as by exclusively fluvial form (Левин и Рубенян, 2010). According to some authors (Gabrielian, 2010) Sevan khramulya was observed solely in the Lake Sevan basin. During the last decade Sevan khramulya stock has dramatically reduced. Overfishing is counted as one of major reasons, as well as competition with fish species introduced into the Lake ecosystem influenced in certain way.

Սևանի բեղլու_Barbus goktschaicus KesslerSevan barbel (Barbus goktschaicus Kessler, 1877) endemic specie, has three biological forms, and lacustrine-fluvial, thatdiffer in their living and spawning territories. This fish specie is also listed in the Red Book of Armenia.

In the past times the river trout (Salmo trutta Linnaeus, 1758) was very popular and lived mainly in rivers and streams: the alabalakhe could have been observed in the Lake Sevan tributary (river Makenis) that was later detached intoseparate specie, which differs from the Lake trout and never enters the Lake itself. Besides it was also found in Argichi and Masrik rivers. Karmrakhayt was registered in Armenian reservoirs (name is due tored spotson the body and back fin) such as Arpa river near Jermuk and Cavriver (r. Araks basin, left tributary).

Rainbow trout (Parasalmo mykiss Walbaum, 1972) is cultivated in the Ararat valley, it can be found in Hrazdan, Mecamor, Vorotan (r. Araqs basin) and Aghstev rivers (r. Qur basin).

White fish or sig (Coregonus lavaretus Linnaeus, 1758) is an introduced species into the Lake ecosystem. In 1986Dadikyan revealed structural differences, which became basis to separate it in to a new subspecie – Coregonus lavaretus sevanicus.

1.2. Amphibias

Amphibians are typically abundant any placewhere water resource is available. There are six species of amphibians including the green toad (Bufo viridis Laurenti), Shelkovnikov tree frog (Hyla arborea Schelkownikowi), marsh frog (Rana ridibunda), long-legged wood frog or Caucasus frog (Rana macrocnemis) and Rana ischchani.

1.3. Reptiles

16 species of reptiles are common in the Lake basin, 2 of which are listed in the Red Book, spotted lizard (Eremias arguta transcaucasica) and Asia minorlizard (Lacerta parva):

lacerta_armeniacaLizards – Lacerta armeniaca, Lacerta unisexualis, Lacerta nairensis, Lacerta rostombekovi, as well as Laudakia caucasia, Lacerta agilis brevicaudata, Lacerta strigata, Parvilacerta parva, Eremias argutatranscaucasica, Darevskia unsexualis, Darevskia valentine.

20110502_Turkey_113647_CRSnakes – Platyceps najadum, Hemorrhois ravergieri, Coronella austriaca, Eirenis punctatolineatus, Natrix natrix, Natrix tesselata, Vipera (Pelias) eriwanensis, Anguis Fragilis.

1.4. Birds

The most diverse in the Lake Sevan basin are birds counting to about 267 species: Anser anser, Melanitta fusca, Netta rufina, Aythyaferina, Oxyora leucocephala, Fulia atra, Ana splatyrhynchos, swan Cygnus cygnus, Tadorna tadorna, of which 39 species are in Red Book of Armenia, 83 are African-Eurasian aquatic migratory bird species to be protected underthe agreement of Wild Animals Convention.

vororArmenian gull (Larus argentatus armenicus) partial migratory endemic specie in the Lake Sevan basin can reach from 52 to 62 cm, from 120 to 145 cm across the wings and weighs from 0.60 to 0.96 kg. The area of black on the wingtips is more extensive with smaller white spots. The beak is short with a distinctive black band just before the tip. First-winter birds are mainly brown. They have a whitish rump, pale inner and a narrow, sharply-defined black band on the tail.

Քաջահավ_Plegadis falcinellusGlossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellusi) is migratory specie with 48–66 cm length, averaging around 59.4 cm with an 80–105 cm wingspan with body mass of from 0.485 to 0.970 kg. This specie has a brownish beak, dark facial skin bordered above and below in blue-gray (non-breeding) to cobalt blue (breeding), and red-brown legs.

58Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) – casual migratory in Arax river and the Lake Sevan basin, from 120 to 145 cm. The males weigh an average of 2.8 kg, while females average 2.2 kg. The wing coverts can be red, and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black. The beak is pink and white with a restricted black tip, and the legs are entirely pink.

1.5. Mammals

There are about 44 species of mammals to be counted in the Lake basin, 6 of which are listed in the Red Book of Armenia: Indian crested (Hystrix indica Kerr), otter, brown bear, marbled polecat, forest cat, and bezoar goat.

Mainly occur: wolf (Canis lupus), golden jackal (Canis aureus Linnaeus), fox, the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), wild cat (Felis silvestris Schreber), rabbit (Lepus europaenus), weasel (Mates foina), small rodents, European marbled polecat( Vormela peregusna Guldenstadt), Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra Linnaeus), manul, leopard (Panthera pardus Linnaeus), bezoar goat (Capra aegagrus Erxleben), shore ferret. 

2. IIsubphylum – Invertebrates

2.1. Mollusks and Arthropod

Կապտաթիթեռ_Maculinea nausithousInvertebrates fauna consists of a plenty of plankton and benthic species from different groups. Mollusks (Mollusca) – 43 species to which belong snails, mollusks, crustacea, arachnida, etc. 639 species of arthropoda that belong to insects, 6 of which are Armenian endemics: Arthropoda- 12 type (6 butterflies, 5 hymenoptera and 1 cricket) are listed in the USSR Red Book as endangered. Agrodiaetus eriwanensis Forster (Maculinea nausithous Bergs) registered on the list of Europe’s Convention on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (Berne Convention).

2.2. Crustaceans

astacus_leptodactylus-2Narrow-clawed crayfish (Pontastacus leptodactylus) was accidentally introduced into the Lake ecosystem in the 1970s. There is a plenty of crayfish in Hrazdan River, unlike other species, it does not hibernate.

 

Flora