Greek version
   
Invertebrates Amphibians Reptiles Birds Mammals


FAUNA

The term fauna is used to describe the total number of animal species (Vertebrates and Invertebrates) inhabiting a certain area. Our knowledge about the Greek fauna begins a long time ago, when Aristotle wrote "On the History of Animals", where he described in detail, about 600 species. According to recent studies (Fauna Europea 2004), Greece hosts 23,130 land and freshwater species (Legakis, 2004). Another 3,500 species live in the Greek seas. If we add several species that have been recorded but are not yet listed, Greek fauna comprises approximately 30,000 species.
The Hellenic fauna is very poorly studied. Vertebrates are better known than Invertebrates. It is believed that if the Hellenic Fauna is fully studied, it will include c. 50,000 species. Of these:

beetle 555 are fishes (447 saline and 108 freshwater species)
22 amphibians
61 reptiles
436 birds
111 mammals (98 terrestrial and 13 saline)
24,747 invertebrates

Press here to download data for the Hellenic Fauna, by Anastasios Legakis, Assistant Professor of the Department of Biology, University of Athens.

The Greek Fauna is more related to the fauna of East Mediterranean, an area influenced by Europe, central Asia, Anatolia, Middle East and Africa. Another characteristic of the Greek Fauna is the endemism. According to the Fauna Europaea Project, 3,956 endemic species have been recorded so far on land and freshwater, a percentage of 17,1%. There are certain groups, such as terrestrial Isopods and Orthoptera, with endemism higher than 30% (64% and 32% respectively). The main reasons for these high percentages are the long-lasting isolation of the Greek Islands and the existance of mountain refuges during ice ages.

So far, reference is made only to the number of species and not to the number of subspecies, who increase even more the diversity of the Greek fauna. This is done because taxonomic ranking of several subspecies is yet to be determined.

The large diversity of the Greek fauna is justified by the same terms as the diversity of the Greek flora. Primarily, the hellenic territory acted as a shelter to the animals of N Europe during the ice ages. Secondly, the huge variety of biotopes (in a relatively small area, several different habitats are observed) contributed in the development of different isolated populations of wild animals, which consequently evolved into new species and subspecies, several of which are now Greek endemics.

wild boars are extinct in ParnithaAs far as Parnitha is concerned, available historical data and previous research show that until recently, most of the country's large mammals were present on the mountain. Among them, brown bear (Ursus arctus, existed until mid-19th century), grey wolf (Canis lupus, until 1940-50), lynx (Lynx lynx, existed until the last century, now extinct from whole Greece). There were also bobcats (Felix sylvestris) and large herbivore mammals, such as wild boars (Sus scrofa) and roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), which disappeared from Attica in the beginning of the 20th century.

The species mentioned above no longer exist on Parnitha, because they were forced to move to much northern habitats (Pindos, N Greece), due to human activities. However, despite the extinction of these species from the area, Parnitha with its rich flora, its forests, its variable topography and its high protection status (as National Park, Game Reserve, Special Protection Area for the Birds (SPA), Natura 2000 site), offers a suitable ecosystem for supporting various wild fauna species.

In conclusion, Parnitha's fauna remains among the richest in the Attica plain red deer (Cervus elaphus)and despite human impact, it sustains a significant number of red deer (Cervus elaphus), which, along with a small population on Rhodopi mountain, form the only wild populations of this species in Greece.

Of the animals living on Parnitha, 23 bird species, 12 mammal species (bats especially) and 12 amphibian and reptile species are included in the Annex of "Strictly protected" fauna species in the Bern Convention. Furthermore, according to the "Red Data Book of Endangered Vertebrates of Greece" (Karandeinos, 1992) there are 11 Endangered 8 Vulnerable species. There have also been observed 10 bird species with relatively limited distribution in the world, but with important european populations and 1 threatened species. It is noteworthy that 5 reptile species and 6 mammal species of Parnitha are cited in Annex of the EEC Directive 92/43.

Synoptic table of Parnitha's protected fauna species

Number of protected species
Directive 92/43
Directive 79/409
IUCN Red List
RDB
P.D. 67/1981
Bern Convention
V
Amphibians
_
4
_
_
1
_
6
7
Reptiles
5
18
_
_
3
_
19
22
Birds
_
_
23
14
_
11
_
85
Mammals
6
21
_
_
3
19
21
12

 

 
   
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Play our game and meet the animals living on Mt Parnitha!

 
 
 

Contact:

  Forest Service of Parnitha
  Thrakomakedonon Ave.    142, Acharnes. GR13601
   Athens, Greece.

Tel.: 0030 210 2434061-3 fax.: 0030 210 2434064

mail: daspar@otenet.gr

 
   
           
         
           

  Design-editing:
  Eirini Aplada, Biologist-M.Sc. Environmental Biology and Terrestrial and Marine Ecosystem Management

mail: iaplada@yahoo.com
©2006