The Giant Pill-Millipedes of Madagascar: Revision of the Genus Sphaeromimus, with a Review of the Morphological Terminology (Diplopoda, Sphaerotheriida, Sphaerotheriidae).

Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, Fourth Series 12/2005; 56(29):557-599.

ABSTRACT The Malagasy sphaerotheriid genus Sphaeromimus DeSaussure and Zehntner, 1902 is revised. Known heretofore from a single male specimen, the genus now contains three species, Sphaeromimus musicus (DeSaussure and Zehntner, 1897), Sphaeromimus splendidus sp. nov. and Sphaeromimus inexpectatus sp. nov. The female of S. musicus is described here for the first time. The mouthparts of giant pill millipedes were observed for the first time using scanning electron microscopy and species- and genus-level characters are illustrated. Intraspecific variation of the female stridulatory organ, the ‘washboard’ is described. For the first time in Malagasy Sphaerotheriida, some ecological comments are given. Characters found in the male
telopods and the female stridulatory organ (the washboard) indicate that characters employed previously for the definition of subfamilies and tribes cannot be maintained and the monophyly of such groups remains questionable.

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    ABSTRACT: This paper describes the second species of sphaerotheriid millipede to be recorded from Western Australia, Epicyliosoma (Epicyliosoma) sarahae sp. nov. It is restricted to low rainfall biotopes in the southeast coastal province of Western Australia and may be under threat from climate change and fire. Epicyliosoma sarahae is more restricted within its range than the other Western Australian species, the threatened Cynotelopus notabilis Jeekel, and both species are short-range endemics.
    Records of the Western Australian Museum. 24:113-119.
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    ABSTRACT: The phylogeny of the Giant Pill-Millipedes, order Sphaerotheriida, is investigated using a new morphological character matrix comprising 89 characters. The majority of these characters are employed for the first time in millipedes. All trees obtained agree on the monophyletic status of the Sphaerotheriida and several of its tribes, each restricted to a modern land mass. The species from Madagascar displaying island gigantism do not form a monophyletic group. The classic division of Giant Pill-Millipedes into two families, Sphaerotheriidae and Zephronidae, was not reflected in the analysis. The genus Procyliosoma is the sister-group to all other Sphaerotheriida, rendering the family Sphaerotheriidae paraphyletic. A new family-level classification of Giant Pill-Millipedes, based on the current phylogeny, is introduced. The new family Procyliosomatidae contains only the genus Procyliosoma, distributed in Australia and New Zealand. The family Zephronidae remains unchanged, while the family Sphaerotheriidae now incorporates only the African Giant Pill-Millipede genera. All genera from southern India and Madagascar form a monophyletic group and are placed in the new family Arthrosphaeridae. The Malagasy genus Sphaeromimus is more closely related to the Indian Arthrosphaera species than to other genera from Madagascar. A biogeographical analysis identifies the group as a Gondwana taxon (with a notable absence from South America). The current phylogeny of Giant Pill-Millipede families mirrors perfectly the suggested break-up of Gondwana fragments 160–90 Ma. No evidence for a dispersal event could be found, highlighting the importance of Giant Pill-Millipedes as a potential model taxon.
    Cladistics 08/2009; 25(6):545 - 573. · 6.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Malagasy fire millipede genus Aphistogoniulus (Silvestri, 1897) is revised. All previously described species, A. cowani (Butler, 1882), A. erythrocephalus (Pocock, 1893), A. hova (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1897), A. corallipes (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1902), A. sakalava (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1897), are redescribed. Four new synonyms are confirmed: Aphistogoniulus sanguinemaculatus (Silvestri, 1897) new synonym of A. cowani, A. quadridentatus (Attems, 1910) new synonym of A. erythrocephalus, A. polleni Jeekel, 1971 and A. brolemanni Jeekel, 1971 new synonyms of A. hova. Scanning electron microscopy is utilized to investigate the sexual differences on the antenna, mandible and gnathochilarium in A. cowani. The intraspecific variation of the taxonomic characters within and between different populations of A. erythrocephalus (Pocock, 1893) is examined. Five new species (A. sanguineus Wesener, n. sp., A. infernalis Wesener, n. sp., A. diabolicus Wesener, n. sp., A. aridus Wesener, n. sp., A. vampyrus Wesener, n. sp.) are described, including the first records of the genus from the Malagasy spiny forest and azonal Western deciduous forest ecosystem. A key to Aphistogoniulus species is provided.
    International Journal of Myriapodology. 05/2009; 2(1):15-52.


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