reptiles & amphibians
Some of the local guides claim that there are no mammals on Thásos apart from domestic livestock and feral goats. This is clearly untrue but it is certainly the case that wild mammals are scarce and inconspicuous on the island. During my visits I can only recall seeing the occasional brown rat Rattus norvegicus around the outskirts of Thassos Town, unidentified bats in the evening sky, a house mouse Mus musculus scuttling alongside buildings in Thassos Town, brown hares Lepus europaeus on the forest tracks, and dead eastern hedgehogs Erinaceus concolor on the roads in the north of the island. In addition, the University of the Aegean description of Thásos on its website mentions stone marten Martes foina (several visitors have reported seeing these animals) and brown hare Lepus europaeus as occurring on the island. Cameron (1995) reports three sightings of live pine martens Martes martes (plus a road casualty), which are presumably misidentifications of stone marten, as well as hedgehogs and bats.
Greece reportedly supports ninety-five species of land mammals (World Conservation Monitoring Centre website) and the proximity of Thásos to the mainland suggests that it should share in this diversity. However, Ondrias (1966) includes no records from Thásos in his account of the distribution of the 25 species of rodent known from Greece, and reports just four species in total from the Aegean islands - lesser mole rat Spalax leucodon, broad-toothed field mouse Apodemus mystacinus, black rat Rattus rattus and house mouse . Wettstein (1941), which I have not been able to consult, may give more information on the mammals of Thásos. Two rare bat species, Blasius' horseshoe bat Rhinolophus blasii and the long-fingered bat Myotis capaccinii, are apparently present as they are included in documentation supporting the initial selection of the Oros Ypsari Special Area for Conservation. These species are recorded in papers by Van Laar & Daan (1964) and Iliopoulou-Georgoudaki (1977). In the Drakotrypa cave at Panagia there is a large bat roost (R. Trafford pers. comm.), where Lane & Alivizatos (2006) recorded both Lesser and Greater horseshoe bats Rhinolophus hipposideros and Rhinolophus ferrumequinum in 1999. Both of the Panagia horseshoe bats are included on Annex II of the EC Habitats and Species Directive and Lane & Alivizatos' advise that, in view of "the sensitivity of these species to disturbance, it is recommended that access to the Drakospilia cave be controlled". I'm not sure if the Drakotrypa and Drakospilia caves are one and the same but it is clear that the Panagia caves are of great importance to nature conservation on the island (Drakotrypa is known to support endemic invertebrate species) and they should be given protection by the local authorities.
Lane & Alivizatos' short study of the island's bats reports a further five species from Thásos - Myotis capaccinii, Natterer's bat Myotis nattereri, Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Savi's pipistrelle Pipistrellus savii and Serotine Eptesicus serotinus, which makes a total of eight bat species on the island list. Interestingly they also report the presence of Edible dormouse Glis glis both inside and outside the Drakospilia cave. I'm grateful to Lance Chilton for drawing my attention to this publication. Lance recorded a dead mole Talpa sp. on an earth road through woodland above Potamia village in May 2008. This is most likely to have been the European mole T. europaea, but the Mediterranean mole T. caeca also occurs in north-eastern Greece so it is not possible to say with certainty which species is present on Thásos.
In 2005 I had two separate reports of shrews - one liberated from a hotel swimming pool in Thassos Town and the other found dead in Megalo Kazaviti, possibly Eurasian Pygmy Shrew Sorex minutus but confirmation is required. I have also received photographs from Baz Williams of a small group of roe deer Capreolus capreolus in the forests near Thassos Town. Perhaps they have escaped from Makriammos, as deer used to be kept there, but if anyone has any further information on the origin of this potentially damaging addition to the island's fauna I'd be pleased to receive details. Indeed, I would be interested to hear of any confirmed sightings of wild mammals on the island.
Offshore, cetaceans are sometimes seen from the ferries, but in more than twenty ferry trips between Thásos and Keramoti I have only seen dolphins (probably common dolphin Delphinus delphis) on one occasion. Dr T. Schultze-Westrum reports that local fishermen frequently saw a male monk seal Monachus monachus offshore from Astiris during one summer in the 1990s, but this rare species is not known to breed in the island's coves. Jiannis Markianos reports that seals (species at present unknown) are now frequently seen around the southern coast.
Serotine Eptesicus serotinus
Long-fingered bat Myotis capaccinii
Natterer's bat Myotis nattereri
Pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus
Savi's pipistrelle Pipistrellus savii
Blasius' horseshoe bat Rhinolophus blasii
Greater horseshoe bat Rhinolophus ferrumequinum
Lesser horseshoe bat Rhinolophus hipposideros
Stone (or beech) marten Martes foina
Eastern hedgehog Erinaceus concolor
European mole T. europaea (unconfirmed)
Eurasian Pygmy Shrew Sorex minutus (unconfirmed)
Brown hare Lepus europaeus
Brown rat Rattus norvegicus
Edible dormouse Glis glis
House mouse Mus musculus
Roe deer Capreolus capreolus (introduced)
Common dolphin Delphinus delphis (unconfirmed)
Monk seal Monachus monachus
Cameron, C. 1995. The Isle of Thassos and the Keramoti area, north eastern Greece: trip report for the period 23/05/95 - 06/06/95. Unpublished report, FBRIS.
Iliopoulou-Georgoudaki, J. 1977:Systematic study and geographical distribution of Chiroptera in Greece. Ph. D. Thesis. University of Patras. [in Greek]
Lane, A. & Alivizatos, H. 2006. Additional data on the bat species (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae and Vespertilionidae) of the island of Thasos, north-eastern Greece. Ann. Musei Goulandris 11: 297-301.
Ondrias, J.C., 1966. The taxonomy and geographical distribution of the rodents of Greece. Säugertierkundliche 14, Suppl. 136 pp.
von Wettstein, O., 1941. Die Säugertierwelt der Ägäis, nebst einer Revision des Rassenkreises von Erinaceus europaeus. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien., 52: 245-278.
Van Laar V. & Daan, S. 1964: On some Chiroptera from Greece.Beaufortia. Misc. Publ. Zool. Mus. Amsterdam 10: 158-166.