ZooKeys 174: 63–77, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.174.2474
Terrestrial slugs (Gastropoda, Pulmonata) in the NATURA 2000 areas of Cyprus island
Katerina Vardinoyannis 1, Simon Demetropoulos 2, Moissis Mylonas 1,3, Kostas A.Triantis 4, Christodoulos Makris 5, Gabriel Georgiou, Andrzej Wiktor 6, Andreas Demetropoulos 7
1 Natural History Museum of Crete, University of Crete, 71409 Herakleio Crete, Greece
2 Cyprus Wildlife Society, P.O.Box 24281, Lefkosia 1703, Cyprus
3 Department of Biology, University of Crete, 71409 Herakleio Crete, Greece
4 Natural History Museum of Crete, University of Crete, 71409 Herakleio Crete, Greece
5 21 Ethnikis Antistaseos, 3022 Limassol, Cyprus
6 Museum of Natural History, Wrocław University, Sienkiewicza 21, 50-335 Wrocław, Poland
7 Cyprus Wildlife Society, P.O.Box 24281, Lefkosia 1703, Cyprus

Corresponding author: Katerina Vardinoyannis (mollusca@nhmc.uoc.gr)

Academic editor: E. Neubert

received 2 December 2011 | accepted 22 February 2012 | Published 9 March 2012

(C) 2012 Katerina Vardinoyannis. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

For reference, use of the paginated PDF or printed version of this article is recommended.


Terrestrial slugs of the Island of Cyprus were recently studied in the framework of a study of the whole terrestrial malacofauna of the island. The present work was carried out in the Natura 2000 conservation areas of the island in 155 sampling sites over three years (2004–2007). Museum collections as well as literature references were included. In total six species are present in the Natura 2000 areas of the island, belonging to three families: Limacidae, Agriolimacidae and Milacidae. One of the species, Milax riedeli, is a new record for the island. The distribution of the species across the island and in the surrounding areas is discussed.


Agriolimacidae, Limacidae, Milacidae, Distribution, East Mediterranean


Cyprus, the largest island in the Eastern Mediterranean, has an area of 9, 251 km2, and there are 33 special areas under nature conservation, that cover 22 % of the total area. The designation of these areas was based mainly on habitat types, geology, knowledge of plant and vertebrate species, and on published data on invertebrates. This is in accordance with what Dimitrakopoulos et al. (2004) claim “… it is questionable whether the inclusion of species and habitats in the list of biodiversity components of ‘community interest’ has been based on a previous detailed evaluation of regional biodiversity patterns, but rather the selection was based on the inclusion of pre-existing national ad hoc schemes”.

Our previous knowledge of the slugs of Cyprus was mainly based on a fairly recent paper by Rähle (1991). In most other relevant papers slugs of Cyprus appear in passing, either because the work deals mainly with the neighbouring areas of the Mediterranean (Schütt 2005, Heller 2009) or they concern a particular slug taxon (Hesse 1926). Six slug species had been recorded from the island, but only three of them within a NATURA 2000 conservation area; namely Deroceras berytensis, D. chrysorroyatissensis and Limax flavus (Rähle 1984, 1991; Wiktor 2001). These slugs are recorded from six conservation areas, which are among the most popular and most visited parts of the island.

In this work we present new distributional data about the slugs of Cyprus and comments on their taxonomy when necessary. Additionally, we discuss their presence in the conservation areas and the whole island and compare it with occurrence in surrounding countries.

Material and methods

During the years 2004–2007 we collected land snails in all NATURA 2000 areas. Slugs were found at 99 sites within 28 of the 33 areas although we collected land snails at 155 sampling sites (Map 1, Table 1). Sampling sites were intended to cover the whole diversity (habitat and substrate) of each NATURA 2000 area. Snails and slugs were collected only during the wet period (October-April) by A. Demetropoulos (AD), S. Demetropoulos (SD), Chr. Makris (M), Chr. Makris & L. Georgiou (MG), M. Mylonas (MM), K.A. Triantis, and K. Vardinoyannis (V). We also included material from the mollusc collection of the Natural History Museum of Crete (Map 1, Table 1). After sampling, specimens were relaxed and then preserved in 75 % ethanol. Their identification was based on anatomy of the genitalia. The material is kept in the Natural History Museum of Crete and in the Museum of Natural History, Wrocław University.

Map 1.

Natura 2000 areas A and sampling sites B in each area. Numbers depict sampling sites where slugs were found (their name is given in Table 1)

Table 1.

Sampling sites in each NATURA 2000 area, the date of collection, the vegetation type and the dominant plant species, the substrate and the corresponding number on Map 1.

NATURA 2000 area Sampling site with slugs Date Number on map Dominant Vegetation Substrate
Agiatis Agiatis–Agia S (CY411–1) 14/3/2006 25 Pine forest (Pinus brutia) Diabase dykes
Agiatis–500m from Tarmac CY411–2 14/3/2006 26
Akrotirio Aspro–Petra tou Romiou Aspro cape–Petra tou Romiou (eastern valley) 29/1/2005 53 Phrygana (Sarcopoterium spinosum; Maquis (Olea europaea, Ceratonia siliqua) Biocalcarenites, sandstones
Alykes Larnakas Alyki, Tekes (site 1) 15/1/2005 95 Plantations with Acacia Sand, silts
Larnaka salt marsh new buildings 19/11/2005 96
Alykos Potamos–Agios Sozomenos Kotsiatis Dam (CY202–1) 4/3/2006 81 Phrygana (Sarcopoterium spinosum) Pillow lavas, Olivine - Pyroxene
Cha Potami Cha river, Kato Archimantria 5/3/2005 52 Maquis (Olea europaea & Ceratonia siliqua) Chalks, marls
Cha river, Orites 5/3/2005 51
Chersonisos Akama Agios Kononas springs 24/11/2005 1 Maquis (Juniperus phoenicea, Olea europaea Ceratonia siliqua); Phrygana (Sarcopoterium spinosum); Pine forests (Pinus brutia) Limestone
Agios Minas spring CY410–11 15/3/2005 4
Akamas (may be Loutra tis Afroditis) 1/10/1989 3
Akamas forest CY 410–8 12/3/2005 6
Akamas, Loutra tis Afroditis CY 410–10 15/3/2005 2
Avakas 19/2/2005 8
Mountiko maquis CY410–3 24/1/2005 9
Petratis gorge 23/11/2005 7
Pittokopos CY410–13 16/3/2005 5
Pykni forest CY410–4 15/2/2005 10
Dasos Lemesou–Periochi Kyparisia Germasogeia north, at the stream (CY 20) 20/2/2000 59 Pine forest (Pinus brutia); Maquis (Olea europaea, Ceratonia siliqua) Serpentinized harzburgites, Diabase dykes and gabbros
Lemesos forest, Akrounta river valley 11/2/2006 62
Lemesos forest, Foinikaria 2/1/2005 61
Lemesos forest, Germasogeia dam, Foinikaria 2/1/2005 60
Dasos Machaira Gionia Camp (CY204–2) 17/3/2006 87 Forest (Quercus alnifolia, Pinus brutia) Diabase dykes and pillow lavas
Gionia Valley north (CY204–3) 17/3/2006 85
Kapedes (CY204–1) 17/3/2006 82
Kiona ~1380m alt 22/12/2006 86
Lazania CY 204–7 27/12/2006 84
Machairas, Kyprovasa– Arkatzi tou Klosmatou 22/12/2006 88
Philani Pine CY 204–6 27/12/2006 83
Dasos Pafou Dasos Pafou Tripyla 7/1/2006 29 Forests with Pines (Pinus brutia) and Cedars (Cedrus brevifolia) Diabase dykes
Gerakies (CY 206–3) 15/3/2006 32
Kedron valley 13/3/2005 28
Kedron valley (CY 10) 18/2/2000 27
Kremnos tis Pellis CY 206–1 15/3/2006 30
Roudia Bridge (site CY7) 17/2/2000 33
Sylladin tou Petrou near Tsakistra 15/3/2006 31
Dasos Stavrovouniou Stavrovouni, entrance of monastery 19/12/2006 93 Pine forest (Pinus brutia); Maquis (Olea europaea, Ceratonia siliqua) Diabase dykes and pillow lavas
Stavrovouni, low 19/12/2006 92
Stavrovouni, NE low 19/12/2006 94
Drymou Drymou Oak 28/3/2007 16 Riparian Biocalcarenites, sandstones
Drymou Valley 28/3/2007 15
Episkopi tou Morou Nerou Ezousas Alder (CY405–1) 11/2/2006 22 Maquis (Quercus coccifera) Sand, silts, clays
Ezousas Pseudogarrigue (CY405–2) 11/2/2006 21
Ethniko Dasiko Parko Troodous Caledonian falls 22/11/2005 63 Pine forests (Pinus nigra, Pinus brutia) Gabbros, harzburgites
Mesapotamos waterfall 22/11/2005 65
Platres to Mesapotamos 22/11/2005 64
Troodos mt., Almyrolivado 26/11/2005 66
Kavo Gkreko Cavo Gkreko Rocks 9/1/2005 99 Maquis (Juniperus phoenicea); Phrygana (Sarcopoterium spinosum) Limestone
Gkreco cape at Agioi Anargyroi (CY 24) 21/2/2000 98
Paralimniou lake 9/1/2005 97
Koilada Diarizou Diarizos Arminou 28/1/2006 49 Maquis (Olea europaea, Ceratonia siliqua); Phrygana (Sarcopoterium spinosum); Pine forests (Pinus brutia) Chalks, sand, lava breccia
Diarizos gorge, after Kikisia (CY 8) 17/2/2000 47
Diarizos Kidasi 22/1/2006 45
Diarizos Nikokleia 28/1/2006 44
Diarizos valley, Gefyri 22/1/2005 48
Diarizos valley, Petres ton Hasanpoulion 22/1/2005 46
Koilada Limnati Limnatis valley, 1 km west of the bridge, 400 m alt. 5/12/2004 58 Maquis (Olea europaea, Ceratonia siliqua) Chalks, serpentinite
Limnatis valley, Alassa 19/11/2005 55
Limnatis valley, Mantra 18/2/2006 54
Palia Korfi, approx. 500 m alt., Limnatis valley 4/12/2004 56
Palia Korfi, river below at Limnatis bridge 4/12/2004 57
Kritou Marotou Kritou Marotou Cultivations 27/3/2007 24 Riparian and cultivations Chalks, marls, clays
Kritou Marotou Oak 27/3/2007 23
Lefkaron Lefkara–Agios Minas 25/2/2006 91 Presteppe scrub (Genista fasselata; Maquis (Quercus coccifera) Chalks, marls and pillow lavas
Lefkara 600 m alt 19/11/2005 89
Lefkara croosroad to Kato Drys 11/3/2006 90
Madari–Papoutsa Kyperounda (CY205–1) 25/3/2006 67 Forest (Quercus alnifolia, Pinus brutia) Diabase dykes and pillow lavas
Lagoudera valley 20/12/2006 70
Lagoudera, 6 km north 21/12/2006 73
Papoutsa ~1240m alt. 20/12/2006 72
Pitsilia district, Kyperounta 15/4/2001 68
Polystypos Fountoukies 17/12/2006 71
Spilia–Madari, 1250m alt. 17/12/2006 69
Xyliati dam, low 21/12/2006 74
Mammari–Deneia Mammari 1st site 21/11/2005 80 Phrygana (Sarcopoterium spinosum) Biocalcarenites, sandstones
Maroullena Maroulena gorge 17/12/2006 75 Pine forest (Pinus brutia) and Riparian Pillow lavas
Maroulena’s Dam 23/12/2006 76
Maroulena’s Pine 23/12/2006 77
Mavrokolympos Agios Neophytos Valley CY408–4 13/1/2006 20 Maquis (Olea europaea, Ceratonia siliqua); Phrygana (Sarcopoterium spinosum) Chalks, marls
Agios Neophytos Garrigue CY408–3 13/1/2006 19
Mavrokolymbos Garrigue CY408–1 9/1/2006 18
Mavrokolymbos Stream CY408–2 9/1/2006 17
Periochi Mitserou Mitsero–Agios Panteleimonas 11/3/2006 79 Phrygana (Sarcopoterium spinosum); Pine forest (Pinus brutia) Chalk & Limestone
Mitsero Pinewood & valley 11/3/2006 78
Platy Platy area, crossroad Kelefos–Kaminaria–Milikouri 19/2/2005 50 Pine forest (Pinus brutia) Diabase dykes
Polis Gialia Gialia Acacia CY401–1 8/1/2006 14 Plantations with Acacia Calcarenites, sands, gravel
Skoulli Chrysochou River CY409–2 15/1/2006 12 Woodland (Quercus infectoria); Riparian (Platanus orientalis, Nerium oleander) Sand, silts, gravel
Goudi Oak CY409–1 15/1/2006 11
Polis Camp river CY409–3 15/1/2006 13
Vouni Panagias Agia Moni south of Panagia 22/12/2004 34 Forests (Quercus infectoria, Pinus brutia) Chalks, marls
Makries Limnes Chasanpoulion–Eryfiou–Profitis Ilias 23/12/2004 36
Profitis Ilias 1/2/2005 35
Vloudkia 23/12/2004 37
Xeros Potamos Asprokremnos Pools CY407–1 2/2/2006 43 Phrygana (Sarcopoterium spinosum); Maquis (Olea europaea, Ceratonia siliqua); Pine forests (Pinus brutia) Chalks, marls
Finikas CY407–2 2/2/2006 42
Nata Pine CY407–5 6/2/2006 39
Xeros Army CY407–3 2/2/2006 41
Xeros Rock CY407–4a 3/2/2006 38
Xirou valley, Nata 5/2/2005 40
Stavros tis Psokas Agios Merkourios Pine forests Diabase dykes
Stavros tis Psokas (CY 11) 18/2/2000
Ethniko Dasiko Parko Rizoelias No slugs were found in these areas
Lympion–Agia Anna
Koilada Kargotis

In Table 1 we give the sampling sites in each NATURA 2000 area, the date of collection, the vegetation type, the dominant plant and the substrate.

Initially we assembled all data from the literature, including the doubtful names. These are presented and discussed separately for each species.


In total we found six slug species belonging to three families - Agriolimacidae, Limacidae and Milacidae. Below we present analytically for each species the collecting sites in each NATURA 2000 conservation area (bold), data from literature, and if necessary comments on its systematics.

Family Agriolimacidae Wagner, 1935

Deroceras berytensis (Bourguignat, 1852)

This species had been reported from Akrotirio Aspro–Petra tou Romiou; Alykes Larnakas; Chersonisos Akama; Ethniko Dasiko Parko Troodous; Koilada Diarizou; Polis Gialia and Vouni Panagias (Rähle 1984, 1991).

We found it in (Fig. 1a):Alykes Larnakas: Larnaka salt marsh new buldings, 19.11.05, M; Alyki Tekes, 15.1.05, MG. Alykos Potamos – Agios Sozomenos: Kotsiatis Dam (CY202–1), 4.3.2006, SD. Cha Potami: Cha river, Kato Archimandria, 5.03.05, MG. Chersonisos Akama: Agios Minas spring CY 410–11, 15.3.05, AD; Agios Kononas springs, 24/11/2005, AD; Akamas (may be Loutra tis Afroditis), 1.10.1989, MM; Petratis gorge, 23.11.05, MM; Pittokopos CY 410–13, 16.03.05, SD. Dasos Lemesou – Periochi Kyparisia: Lemesos forest, Germasogeia dam, Foinikaria, 2.1.05 MG. Dasos Pafou: Roudia bridge (CY7), 17.2.00, MM. Dasos Stavrovouniou: Stavrovouni, low, 19.12.06 MM. Episkopi tou Morou Nerou: Ezousas Alder (CY405–1), 11.02.06, SD. Kavo Gkreko: Cavo Greko Rocks, 9.1.05, MM; Gkreko cape at Agioi Anagyroi (CY24), 21.02.00, MM. Koilada Diarizou: Diarizou gorge, after Kikisia (CY 8), 17.02.00, MM; Diarizos Arminou, 28.1.06, MG; Diarisos Kidasi, 22.1.06, AD; Diarizos Nikokleia, 28.1.06, MG; Diarizos valley, Petres ton Hasanpoulion, 22.1.2005, MG. Koilada Limnati: Limnatis valley, Alassa, 19.11.05, MG; Palia Korfi, river below at Limnatis bridge, 4.12.04, MM; Palia Korfi, approx. 500 m alt. Limnatis valley, 4.12.04, MM; Limnatis valley, 1 km west of the bridge, 400 m alt., 4/12/2004, MM. Madari – Papoutsa: Lagoudera, 6 km north, 21.12.06, V; Xyliati dam, low, 21.12.06, MM. Mammari – Deneia: Mammari 1st site, 21.11.2005, V. Maroullena: Maroulena’s Dam, 23.12.06, SD; Maroulena gorge, 17.12.06, MM, V, SD. Mavrokolympos: Mavrokolymbos stream CY408–2, 9.1.06, SD; Mavrokolymbos Garrigue CY408–1, 9.01.06 SD; Agios Neophytos valley (CY 408–4), 13.1.06 SD. Polis Gialia: Gialia Acacia CY401–1, 8.01.06, AD & SD. Skoulli: Chrysochou River CY 409–2, 15.01.06, SD; Polis Camp river CY409–3, 15.01.06, SD. Xeros Potamos: Asprokremnos Pools CY407–1, 2.2.06, AD; Xirou valley Nata, 5.2.05 MG; Finikas CY407–2, 2.02.06, AD & SD; Xeros Army (CY 407–3), 2.2.06, AD & SD; Xeros Rock CY407–4a, 3.02.06, AD & SD

Figure 1.

Distribution of a Deroceras berytensis b Deroceras chrysorroyatissensis and c Deroceras famagustensis in the Natura 2000 areas of conservation in Cyprus Island.

Comments on systematic characters

The colour of alcohol-preserved specimens ranges from cream to dark brown, especially on the back and mantle; the dark pigment is distributed more or less evenly with no distinct spots; when spots are present, they are blurred and their margins fuse (they are never black dots). These external characters are always combined with the following anatomical characters: long caecum, forked penial gland with a distinct common stalk, more or less half as long as the entire gland. The two branches of the penial gland are covered by glandular papillae. The stimulator in the penis is wide, flat, and bowl-shaped.

The species varies very widely (Wiktor 2000); a few very similar slugs, of unclear taxonomic status, are found in the literature. Agriolimax cyprius Simroth, 1906 was described from Cyprus as two forms (Agriolimax cyprius and Agriolimax cyprius coeciger Simroth, 1906). The description, however, is so laconic that it is impossible to say which slugs Simroth (1906) was dealing with (the types most probably have not been preserved). Rähle (1984) commented on these slugs saying that the slugs from Cyprus differed in a few anatomical details from Deroceras berytensis earlier described from Lebanon. The slugs from Cyprus are often smaller; differ somewhat in the appearance of their glandula hermaphroditica, caecum length, penial gland and stimulator. Rähle (1984) suspected that it might be only a form of the variable Deroceras berytensis In our opinion these comments are justified and agree with our own observations; according to Wiktor (2000), at the current state of knowledge it is reasonable to regard the name Agriolimax cyprium as a junior synonym of the widely distributed and very variable Deroceras berytensisrather than use names without knowing what they refer to. It cannot be excluded that Simroth (1906) was dealing not only with Deroceras berytensis but also for example with Deroceras famagustensis.

Deroceras chrysorroyatissensis Rähle, 1984

This species had been reported from Akrotirio Aspro–Petra tou Romiou and Vouni Panagias (Rähle 1991).

We found it in (Fig. 1b): Agiatis: Agiatis–Agia S (CY411–1), 14.03.06, MM, V, AD, SD; Agiatis – 500m from Tarmac CY411–2, 14.03.06, MM, V, AD, SD. Akrotirio Aspro – Petra tou Romiou: Aspro cape – Petra tou Romiou (eastern valley), 29.01.05, M. Cha Potami: Cha river Orites, 5.03.05, MG. Chersonisos Akama: Pykni forest CY 410–4, 15.02.05, SD ? juv.; Akamas (may be Loutra tis Afroditis), 1.10.89, MM; Akamas, Loutra tis Afroditis CY410–10, 15.03.05, SD; Avakas, 19.02.05, SD; Mountiko maquis CY410–3, 24.01.05, SD ? juv.; Petratis gorge, 23.11.05, MM; Akamas forest CY 410–8, 12.03.05, SD. Dasos Lemesou – Periochi Kyparisia: Lemesos forest, Akrounta river valley, 2.01.06, MG. Dasos Pafou: Gerakies CY206–3, 15.03.06, MM, V, AD, SD; Kremnos tis Pellis CY 206–1, 15.3.06. MM, V, AD, SD; Sylladin tou Petrou CY206–2, 15.03.06, MM, V, AD, SD; Kedron valley, 13.03.05, MG; Dasos Pafou–Tripyla, 7.01.06, AD; Kedron valley (CY 10), 18.02.00, V. Dasos Stavrovouniou: Stavrovouni, entrance of monastery, 19.12.06, MM, V; Stavrovouni, NE low, 19.12.06, MM, V; Stavrovouni, low, 19.12.06, MM, V. Episkopi tou Morou Nerou: Ezousas Pseudogarrigue (CY 405–2), 11.02.06, SD. Ethniko Dasiko Parko Troodous: Mesapotamos waterfall, 22.11.05, V; Troodos mt. Almyrolivado, 26.11.05, M; Platres to Mesapotamos, 22.11.05, MM. Koilada Diarizou: Diarizos Arminou, 28.01.06, MG; Diarizou valley, Gefyri, 22.1.05, MG. Koilada Limnati: Limnatis valley, Alassa, 19.11.05, MG; Palia Korfi, river below at Limnatis bridge, 5.12.04, MG; Palia Korfi, approx. 500m alt. Limnatis valley, 5.12.04, MM; Limnatis valley, Mantra, 18.02.06, M. Lefkaron: Lefkara 600m alt., 19.11.05, MM. ? juv.; Lefkara croosroad to Kato Drys, 11.03.06, MM. Madari – Papoutsa: Xyliati dam, low, 21.12.06. MM, V; Lagoudera 6 km north, 21.12.06, MM, V; Pitsilia district, Kyperounta, 15.04.01 ? juv.; Kyperounta (CY 205–1), 25.03.06, SD; Spilia – Madari, 1250m alt., 17.12.06, MM, V. Mavrokolympos: Agios Neophytos Garrigue CY 408–3, 13.01.06, SD. Periochi Mitserou: Mitsero, Pinewood & valley CY203–2, MM, V, AD, SD; Mitsero–Agios Panteleimonas, 11.03.06, MM, V, AD, SD. Platy: Platy area crossroad Kelefos–Kaminaria– Milikouri, 19.02.05, MG. Skoulli: Polis Camp river CY409–3, 15.01.06, SD; Goudi Oak CY409–1, 15.01.06, AD. Vouni Panagias: Makries Limnes Chasanpoulion – Eryfiou – Profitis Ilias, 23.12.04, V; Profitis Ilias, 1.02.05, MG; Vloudkia, 23.12.04, MG; Agia Moni south of Panagia, 22.12.04, MG. Xeros Potamos: Nata Pine CY407–5, 6.02.06, SD.

Comments on systematic characters

The slug is easy to recognise even based solely on its external appearance. As emphasised by Rähle (1984), the species is characterised by very little variation of the characters which are regarded as diagnostic: the external colour pattern on the body, the penis shape, with its external and internal accessory structures, and the absence of a rectal caecum. Only the appendix at the posterior end of the penis may vary in shape. This constancy of characters is exceptional within the genus Deroceras In all likelihood it is endemic to Cyprus. Otherwise, a slug with such a characteristic appearance would have been noticed elsewhere.

Deroceras famagustensis Rähle, 1991

It had not been reported from any NATURA 2000 site.

We found it in (Fig. 1c): Dasos Lemesou – Periochi Kyparisia: Lemesos forest, Foinikaria, 2.1.2005, MG. Dasos Machaira: Gionia Valley north (CY204–3), 17.03.06, SD; Lazania CY 204–7, 27.12.06, SD; Kapedes (CY204–1), 17.03.06, MM; Kiona – 1380 m alt., 22.12.06, MM, V; Machairas Kyprovasa–Arkatzi tou Klosmatou, 22.12.06, MM, V; Gionia Camp CY204–2, 17.03.06, SD; Philani Pine CY204–6, 27.12.06, SD. Kavo Gkreko: Paralimniou lake, 9.1.2005, MG. Madari – Papoutsa: Papoutsa 1240 m alt., 20.12.06, MM; Xyliati dam, low, 21.12.06, MM, V. Maroullena: Maroulena’s Pine, 23.12.06, D.

Comments on systematic characters

We found only unspotted specimens, which is in agreement with Rähle (1991), though the mantle often gives an impression of being speckled with a dark pigment. Thus the colour is not uniform. The back, outside the mantle, is covered by a pattern in the form of a dark reticulation following the system of skin grooves; the dark pigment concentrates in these grooves. Most specimens have thin and soft skin. The penis is thin-walled, of varying shape. Inside it, complicated structures adhering to the penis wall form a kind of pocket. When everted, they form a nearly circular shallow bowl or a slightly concave shield. Rähle (1991) mentions the absence of a stimulator, but apparently this structure should be regarded as one of an unusual shape. Its position within the penis, as well as when everted, clearly indicates that this is its role. The caecum is vestigial. This species is endemic to Cyprus.

There are three Natura 2000 areas, namely Drymou, Stavros tis Psokas and Kritou Marotou, where we found only juvenile Deroceras.

Family Limacidae Rafinesque, 1815

Limax flavus Linnaeus, 1758

This species had been reported from Akrotirio Aspro – Petra tou Romiou and Ethniko Dasiko Parko Troodous (Rähle 1991).

We found it in (Fig. 2a): Dasos Lemesou – Periochi Kyparisia: Germasogeia north, at the stream (CY20), 20.2.00, V. Dasos Pafou: Kedron valley, 13.3.05, MG. Ethniko Dasiko Parko Troodous: Caledonian Falls, 22.11.05, MM. Koilada Limnati: Palia Korfi, river below at Limnatis bridge, 5.12.04, MG; Palia Korfi, approx. 500 m alt, Limnatis valley, 4.12.04, MM. Madari – Papoutsa: Xyliati dam, low, 21.12.06, MM.

Figure 2.

Distribution of a Limax flavus b Milax barypus and c Milax riedeli in the Natura 2000 areas of conservation in Cyprus Island.

Family Milacidae Ellis, 1926

Milax barypus Bourguignat, 1866

It had not been reported from any NATURA 2000 site.

We found it in (Fig. 2b): Kavo Gkreko: Gkreko cape at Agiol Anargyrol CY24, 21.02.00, MM; Cavo Gkreko, 9.01.2005, M. Lefkaron: Lefkara – Agios Minas, 25.02.06, MG ? juv.

This species is endemic to Cyprus.

Milax riedeli Wiktor, 1986

This species had not yet been reported from the island.

We found it in (Fig. 2c): Madari – Papoutsa: Polystypos with hazel, 17.12.06, MM, V ? juv.; Lagoudera valley, 20.12.06, MM, V, SD.

The above list represents the current state of knowledge of slug diversity within the NATURA 2000 areas of conservation of Cyprus Island. To provide a more complete picture of the fauna we have to add that Bourguignat (1853) recorded Limax antiquorum A.E.Férussac, 1819 and Limax variegatus Férussac [= Limax variegatus Draparnaud 1805] from the island, but he said that “they do not look like the true European species (naming Limax cinereus)”. It will be possible to clarify these names after knowing the slugs in the whole island and not only in the areas of conservation. Also Rähle (1991) listed Deroceras cyprium but this most probably refers to Deroceras berytensis.


In the Natura 2000 areas of conservation there are six slug species, one of them, Milax riedeli, a new record for the whole island. According to the literature there were only three species known from the Natura 2000 areas; thus we have doubled the number of species. Tandonia sowerbyi is the only species that has been recorded from the island (Rähle 1991; pers. obs.) but still not in the NATURA 2000 areas. However, we cannot exclude the possibility of finding this species in one of the areas in the future, since in the Mediterranean it can be found in undisturbed as well as disturbed places (Wiktor 2001). The slug fauna in the NATURA 2000 areas of conservation of Cyprus appears at first glance equally rich as the corresponding areas of the island of Crete (seven species on Crete, Vardinoyannis 1994, Wiktor et al. 1994). However, on Crete there are 10 slug species on the whole island, and thus only 70% of the slug fauna is found in the conservation areas, compared to 85.7% on Cyprus. It seems that the slug fauna of Cyprus is well represented in the NATURA 2000 areas, regardless on which basis these areas were proposed.

Deroceras chrysorroyatissensis and Deroceras berytensis are the most widespread species, both present in 19 areas; but the latter is distributed all around the island, while Deroceras chrysorryatissensis has a more restricted distribution. All the other species are found in 2–5 areas of conservation.

Three species are endemic to the island, namely Deroceras chrysorryatissensis, Deroceras famagustensis and Milax barypus. One species, Milax riedeli is distributed on Cyprus and the southeast coast of Turkey (Schütt 2005), while Limax flavus is found all around the Mediterranean and Europe (Wiktor 2001) and Deroceras berytensis all around the eastern Mediterranean (Heller 2009; Wiktor 2000; Schütt 2005).

There are five NATURA 2000 areas where no slugs were found – Ethniko Dasiko Parko Rizoelias, Asgata, Lympion – Agia Anna, Peristerona and Koilada Kargotis. In the first two areas the substrate is mainly gypsum which is most probably the reason for their absence. In the other areas the substrate is limestone, and the vegetation is Mediterranean scrubland (maquis and phrygana). Based on all the characteristics of these areas there is no obvious explanation for the absence of slugs, and we consider it as possible that slugs might be found in the future.

The richest Natura 2000 area is Madari – Papoutsa, in the center of the island, with five of the six species present (Fig. 3). This is followed by Dasos Lemesou – Periochi Kyparisia. There is only one site, Xyliati dam, where all three Deroceras species co-occur; additionally, at this site Limax flavus was also found. In most other localities there is only one slug species present, usually Deroceras berytensis. Milacidae are very restricted: each species has been found in only two of the NATURA 2000 areas.

Figure 3.

Number of slug species in each Natura 2000 area. Bars in black depict juvenile individuals.

Deroceras chrysorroyatissensis was known from very few localities in the southwest part of the island (Rähle 1991; Wiktor 2001) but with our study it appears that this species has a wider distribution, it is absent from the northern and the easternmost part of Cyprus.

Deroceras famagustensis had been reported only from Cavo Gkreco, the southeastern peninsula of the island, but we found it in the central part of Cyprus. Further studies could enlarge its known distribution still further.

Until recently, Limax flavus had been known only from sites near human settlements, but we found it also in more natural areas.

Milax barypus was known from three suburban areas in the eastern and northern part of the island but we also found it in central Cyprus.

Milax riedeli is recorded for the first time from the island. It is distributed in the central part of the island in the area of Madari–Papoutsa.

The presence of the slug species does not seem to correlate with vegetation, rainfall, altitude or the substrate of the site they were found.

All slugs were active only during the wet period; Limax flavus in the urban areas is an exception, as it was found active also during the dry season, even in summer (pers. obs.).

In the future we will present more data on this group since we are currently studying the terrestrial malacofauna of the whole island.


We wish to thank Maria Tzatzi for her valuable help in the laboratory work, Manolis Nikolakakis for his help with the GIS presentation, and Heike Reise for reviewing the manuscript.

This work was part of the research project “The study of land snails in the NATURA 2000 areas- SUSTDEV/0104/05” funded by the Research Promotion Foundation of Cyprus.

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