Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Scutigera coleoptrata
Nearly 13,000 species of arthropods are currently classified in the Myriapoda. Although their name suggests they have countless legs, myriapods range from having over 750 legs (Illacme plenipes) to having fewer than ten legs. Their size ranges from microscopic to 30 cm in length. All of them are terrestrial.

There are four groups of myriapods, how they are related to each other is not yet well understood. Two of them, the symphyla and pauropoda, consist of tiny arthropods living in leaf litter and soil, both superficially resemble centipedes. The chilopoda includes the true centipedes which have only one pair of legs per body segment. They are predators; the first pair of appendages on the trunk are modified into a pair of claws with poison glands, which centipedes use to capture prey (usually other arthropods). The bite of large centipedes can cause humans some pain and discomfort, although there are no authenticated cases of human fatalities from centipede bites.

The diplopoda include the millipedes. Millipede segments are formed in early development by fusion of two adjacent embryonic segments; thus, each adult segment of a millipede bears two pairs of legs. Unlike the predatory chilopoda, most millipedes feed on decaying vegetation, although some are carnivorous.

ZooKeys has just published a conference volume on the  16th International Congress of Myriapodology held last year in Olomouc,Czech Republic. The congress organised by the Centre International de Myriapodologie brought together scientists, students and enthusiastic amateurs with specific interest in millipedes, centipedes, symphylans and pauropods, as well as velvet worms. This conference volume contains lots of very interesting articles and I am happy to report that quite a few use DNA Barcoding in their studies. Here they are including hyperlinks:

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