myriapods & isopods
THE CENTIPEDES, MILLIPEDES AND WOODLICE OF Thásos
The Chilopoda (centipedes), Diplopoda (millipedes) and Isopoda (woodlice) of Thásos are very poorly known and present an ideal opportunity to make a substantial contribution to knowledge of the island's biodiversity. Records for each of these invertebrate groups are scattered through a handful of scientific papers but I am only aware of a total of 26 species recorded to date - twelve centipedes, five millipedes and nine woodlice. Although most of the known species are centipedes, the bulk of the records come from collections made by Bulgarian scientists in the 1940s and only identified in recent years (Stoev 2004). Zapparoli (2002) was only able to list five centipede species from Thásos in his catalogue of the Greek fauna and five years later Simaiakis et al. (2007), clearly unaware of Stoev's contribution, could make no additions in their review of the fauna of the North Aegean islands. I suspect the five species included by Zapparoli (2002) were originally recorded by Matic & Stavropulos (1988), who described the centipede Harpolithobius thasosensis as new to science (although this has now been synonymised with Harpolithobius anodus (Latzel, 1880)).
I have not made any effort to record centipedes during my visits to Thásos but it's impossible not to be aware of Scolopendra cingulata when turning stones looking for insects. This large olive-green species, which can grow to 15 cms in length, occurs from sea level to the mountain peaks and is a fearsome predator. It has a toxic bite which can be very painful to Man but is said to be rarely fatal! I can also add a species to the island list as a house centipede Scutigera coleoptrata was in the apartment I was staying in at Thassos Town in September 1993. Simaiakis et al. (2007) report a total of 32 centipede species from the North Aegean islands but the actual total can be expected to be much higher than this and Thásos probably holds double or even triple the number of species currently known.
Millipedes were evidently surveyed on Thásos in 1982 by Beron and Andreev (Mauries, 1985) but I have not been able to examine a copy of this paper. Their collecting revealed a genus new to science in the form of Thassoblaniulus simplarius Mauričs 1985 and presumably other species from the island are mentioned in this work. However, the only other published record I am aware of is Megaphyllum brachyurum, which is mentioned by Lazányi & Vagalinski (2013) as occurring on the island. I have collected examples of two species - Glomeris balcanica (det. Dr S. Golovatch) from montane limestone pavement at 985 metres a.s.l. on Profitis Ilias in Oct 2001 and Polyxenus albus (det. M. Nguyen Duy-Jacquemin) from coastal phrygana at Skala Maries in Sept 1993. Polyxenus is widespread on the island and I have seen (but not collected) examples around Thassos Town, at Skala Potamias, at 845 metres a.sl. on Ipsarion and at 940 metres a.sl. on Profitis Ilias. These records probably also represent P. albus but P. chalcidicus also occurs in Greece. In addition, I have twice seen individuals (in coastal grassland east of Thassos Town in May 1997 and at 845 metres a.s.l. amongst limestone scree on Ipsarion in May 2003) of what I have assumed to be Ommatoiulus sabulosus, which is a distinctive and common species of dune systems and dry grassland in Britain. However, Kicaj & Qirjo (2013) note the occurrence of O. sabulosus in Albania and Bulgaria but not Greece and therefore these records are unconfirmed. Strasser & Minelli (1984) list 470 millipede species for Italy and presumably the Greek fauna is of similar magnitude. Clearly there is much to be done on the millipedes of Thásos.
Greece appears to be much better studied with regard to its woodlouse fauna and Alexiou & Sfenthourakis (2013) provide an inventory of the 238 species recorded nationally. Much of this wealth of knowledge is due to the extensive contributions of the German scientist, Helmut Schmalfuss, who has studied the isopods of Greece since 1971. However, there are still only nine species recorded from Thásos and much must remain to be discovered. As with the other groups here, I have not paid any particular attention to woodlice on Thásos but have nonetheless added two species to the island list. Several examples of the characteristic beach pill-woodlouse Armadillidium album were found under driftwood on the beach at Cap Prinos on 28 Sept 2001. This species was first found in Greece in 1994 on the mainland coast to the north-east of Thásos and has also been recorded from Zakinthos (Schmalfuss 2008). In June 2005 Halophiloscia couchii, which is widespread around the coasts of the Aegean (Alexiou & Sfenthourakis 2013), was frequent amongst the shingle on the eastern beach at Aliki. On two occasions I have observed examples of Platyarthrus in ants' nests: in October 2001 on montane limestone grassland at 940 metres a.s.l. on Profitis Ilias and in May 2003 from a Messor nest in an old pasture above Thassos Town. P. lindbergi and P. schoblii are both known from the Aegean islands so it is not possible to say which species are present on Thásos (though specimens have been deposited with Anastasios Legakis at the University of Athens so identification may be forthcoming).
Helmut Schmalfuss visited Thásos in June 1973, May 1997 and May 1999 and presumably recorded several species but the only published records I have come across are those of Armadillidium insulanum, A. peraccae (Schmalfuss 2006, 2013), Leptotrichus spinosus (Schmalfuss 2000) and Porcellionides pruinosus (Schmalfuss 1975). He also mentions the occurrence of Armadillidium vulgare and Porcellio obsoletus (Schmalfuss 1975) on the island. L. spinosus was described as new to science from specimens discovered under stones in the south-eastern part of the island on a small sandy beach with a freshwater stream in June 1973 and again on 12 May 1997. Finally, Beron et al. (2004) mention that Trichoniscus rhodopiensis has been recorded from Thásos.
Clinopodes flavidus C.L. Koch, 1847
Henia illyrica (Meinert, 1870)
Himantarium gabrielis (Linnaeus, 1767)
Pachymerium ferrugineum (C.L. Koch, 1835)
Stigmatogaster gracilis (Meinert, 1870)
Eupolybothrus litoralis (L. Koch, 1867)
Harpolithobius anodus (Latzel, 1880)
Cryptops anomalans Newport, 1844
Cryptops dianae Stavropoulos & Matic, 1990
Cryptops hortensis (Donovan, 1810)
Scolopendra cingulata Latreille, 1829
Scutigera coleoptrata (Linnaeus, 1758)
Thassoblaniulus simplarius Mauričs 1985
Glomeris balcanica Verhoeff, 1906
Megaphyllum brachyurum (Attems, 1899)
Ommatoiulus cf.sabulosus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Polyxenus albus Pocock, 1894
Armadillidium album Dollfus, 1887
Armadillidium insulanum Verhoeff, 1907
Armadillidium peraccae Tua, 1900
Armadillidium vulgare ( Latreille 1804)
Halophiloscia couchii (Kinahan, 1858)
Leptotrichus spinosus Schmalfuss 2000
Porcellio obsoletus Budde-Lund 1885
Porcellionides pruinosus (Brandt 1833)
Trichoniscus rhodopiensis Vandel, 1965
Alexiou, S. & Sfenthourakis, S. 2013. The terrestrial Isopods (Isopoda: Oniscidea) of Greece. Parnassian Archives, 1: 3-50.
Beron, P., Petrov, B. & Stoev, P. 2004. The invertebrate cave fauna of the Eastern Rhodopes (Bulgaria and Greece). In: Beron, P. & Popov, A. (eds). Biodiversity of Bulgaria. 2. Biodiversity of Eastern Rhodopes (Bulgaria and Greece). Pensoft & Nat. Mus. Natur. Hist., Sofia, pp. 791—822.
Kicaj, H. & Qirjo, M. 2013. Comparative Data of Millipedes’ Distribution in Southern Region of Albania. Journal of Life Sciences, 7: 766-772.
Lazányi, E & Vagalinski, B. 2013. A new genus of the millipede tribe Brachyiulini (Diplopoda: Julida: Julidae) from the Aegean region. European Journal of Taxonomy, 70: 1-12.
Matic, Z. & Stavropoulos, G. 1988. Contribution a la connaissance des Chilopodes de Grčce. Biologia Gallo-Hellenica, 14: 33–46.
Mauries, J. P. 1985. Les diplopodes recoltes en 1982 par B. Beron et S. Andreev dans l'ile de Thasos (Grece). Thassoblaniulus, nauveau genre de Blaniulidae (Blaniulinae). Acta Zoologica Bulgarica, 28: 52-59.
Schmalfuss, H. 1975. Neues Isopoden-Material aus Griechenland. Sber. öst. Akad. Wiss. (math.-nat. Kl., Abt. 1), 184: 27-66.
Schmalfuss, H. 2000. The Terrestrial Isopods (Oniscidea) of Greece. 20th contribution: Genus Leptotrichus (Porcellionidae). Stuttgarter Beitr. Naturk. Ser. A., 618: 1-64.
Schmalfuss, H. 2006. The terrestrial isopods (Isopoda: Oniscidea) of Greece. 24th contribution: The genus Armadillidium (Armadillidiidae) on the Aegean islands. Stuttgarter Beitr. Naturk. Ser. A., 698: 1-43.
Schmalfuss, H. 2008. The terrestrial isopods (Isopoda: Oniscidea) of Greece. 25th contribution: the genus Armadillidium (Armadillidiidae) in the provinces Macedonia and Thrace. Stuttgarter Beitr. Naturk. Ser. A. Neue Serie, 1: 153–201.
Schmalfuss, H. 2013. The species of the genus Armadillidium (Isopoda: Oniscidea) known from Greece. Stuttgarter Beitr. Naturk. Ser. A. Neue Serie, 6: 13-20.
Simaiakis, S., Voulgaris, G. & Mylonas, M. 2007. A revised catalogue of the centipedes (Chilopoda) of the North Aegean Archipelago with particular reference to the islands of Híos, Límnos and Skyros, Belg. J. Zool. 137: 243–246.
Stoev, P. 2004. Centipedes (Chilopoda) from Greece in the collection of the National Museum of Natural History, Sofia. Historia Naturalis Bulgarica, 16: 81-88.
Strasser C. & Minelli A. 1984. Elenco dei Diplopodi d'Italia. Lavori Soc. ven. Sc. nat., 9: 193-212.
Zapparoli, M. 2002. Catalogue of the centipedes from Greece (Chilopoda). Fragm. Entomol., 34: 1-146