Four new dragon millipedes found in China

Four new dragon millipedes found in China
Male (left) and a female (right) Desmoxytes nodulosa (Photographed not to scale). Credit: Liu Weixin

A team of speleobiologists from the South China Agriculture University and the Russian Academy of Sciences have described four new species of the dragon millipedes from southern China, two of which seem to be cave dwellers. The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

The millipede genus Desmoxytes is well-known because the dragon-like appearance of the species in it. The four all can be recognized by their spiky body, the distinctive characteristic which gave the representatives of the genus their unique common name.

Unlike other groups of cave millipedes, which are usually very common, the representatives of Desmoxytes are comparatively rare in caves, and always with low in numbers populations. In addition, they are often distributed in a narrow geographical area, or even only present in a single cave, or cave system. Because of such rarity and endemism, dragon millipedes are ideal material for evolutionary studies.

China holds the most diverse resources of Desmoxytes. Up to now, China has 14 millipedes of genus, including 9 cavernicolous species. It is believed, however, that the country holds a greater diversity of these bizarre creatures, which are yet to be discovered in future.


Explore further

Genetic study of cave millipedes reveals isolated populations and ancient divergence between species

More information: Liu WX, Golovatch SI, Tian MY (2014) A review of the dragon millipede genus Desmoxytes Chamberlin, 1923 in China, with descriptions of four new species (Diplopoda, Polydesmida, Paradoxosomatidae). ZooKeys 448: 9–26. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.448.8081

Additional Information: Golovatch SI, Li YB, Liu WX, Geoffroy J-J (2012) Three new cavernicolous species of dragon millipedes, genus Desmoxytes Chamberlin, 1923, from southern China, with notes on a formal congener from the Philippines (Diplpoda, Polydesmida, Paradoxoaomatidae). Zookeys 185: 1-17. DOI: 10.3897/zookeys. 185.3082.

Journal information: ZooKeys

Provided by Pensoft Publishers
Citation: Four new dragon millipedes found in China (2014, October 30) retrieved 27 May 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-10-dragon-millipedes-china.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more