White marmots

Fore more than 20 years tourists and students observed white marmots; already in the early courses of the University of Geneva in 1982 and 1983 students came up with photos of these rare animals. They are not albinos. Albinos among mammals are unique, the gene is recessive, thus for offsprings both father and mother must carry the gene. In contrast in the white marmots a mutation (W / KIT) is responsible for the loss or dysfunction of pigment formation explaining the frequency of white marmots in the Cadagno region. The animals are present at several sites, possibly they form some different strains. Some white marmots were recently observed in the  Tremola region near the Gotthard pass. For the reason of rareness the animals are protected during the hunting season


The bluethroat has a blue bib edged by black, white and rust colored borders (Luscinia svecica), it is migratory insectivorous species breeding in wet and bushy wood. It is known in the Piora Valley for more than 30 years (Cereda und Posse, 2002).


The bluethroats hibernate in North Africa and arrives during the spring bird migration into the valleys in Switzerland, often moving north to Russia, Sweden, Norway and Finland.  Nesting sites are also found in Czech Republic, Austria and in the Alps of Lombardy and Southern France, mostly at altitudes between 1700 and 2000 m a.s.l. in humid and undisturbed sites. In the Piora Valley Aldo Cereda up to six pairs are regularly recorded.

Foto: Aldo Cereda

Carnivorous plants 

Of the carnivorous plants in Switzerland the genera Drosera , Pinguicula and Utricularia are found in the region Cadagno – Piora.

The laminae of Sundew (Drosera) are densely covered with stalked mucilaginous glands, tipped with a sugar containing droplet of a viscous fluid used for trapping insects. Insects are attracted by these secretions and get stuck. The tentacles close and the insects are digested.

The Butterworts (Pinguicula) are present in the Piora region with the species Pinguicula alpina (white flowers with yellow cones), Pinguicula vulgaris and Pinguicula leptoceras (blue flowers with white cones). Butterworts show a basal leaf rose with sticky, glandular leaves to lure, trap, and digest insects to supplement the poor mineral nutrition. Both genera grow in environments lacking nutrients, e.g. peat bogs and marshes. Carnivory supplies the plants with important nutrients especially with organic nitrogen compounds.


© Centro Biologia Alpina | last update: 06.12.2014 | Credits