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Long form of Pachymerium ferrugineum (C.L. Koch, 1835) recorded from the Channel Islands (Geophilomorpha: Geophilidae)

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The long form of the centipede Pachymerium ferrugineum C.L. Koch is reported from the Channel Islands, the first record for the British Isles. Information about microsites inhabited and associated species is given. A female specimen with 57 leg bearing segments is briefly described and figured, with a revision of current identification works (Barber, 2008; 2009). We present a review of the 'long' and 'short' forms of this species occurring in neighbouring France and throughout its wide global range. We conclude that further study, including genetic and biochemical studies, would be useful to ascertain whether the two forms are cryptic subspecies or species.
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Bulletin of the British Myriapod & Isopod Group Volume 32 (2020)
73
Long form of Pachymerium ferrugineum (C.L. Koch, 1835) recorded from the
Channel Islands (Geophilomorpha: Geophilidae)
Anthony D. Barber1, Steve J. Gregory2 and Andy Marquis3
1 7 Greenfield Drive, Ivybridge, Devon PL21 0UG, UK.
E-mail: abarber159@btinternet.comm
2 4 Mount Pleasant Cottages, Church Street, East Hendred, Oxfordshire, OX12 8LA, UK.
E-mail: stevejgregory@btopenworld.com
3 Laurel Cottage, Camp du Roi, St Sampsons, Guernsey, GY2 4XG.
E-mail: andymarquis@hotmail.com
Abstract
The long form of the centipede Pachymerium ferrugineum C.L. Koch is reported from the Channel
Islands, the first record for the British Isles. Information about microsites inhabited and associated
species is given. A female specimen with 57 leg bearing segments is briefly described and figured, with
a revision of current identification works (Barber, 2008; 2009). We present a review of the ‘long’ and
‘short’ forms of this species occurring in neighbouring France and throughout its wide global range. We
conclude that further study, including genetic and biochemical studies, would be useful to ascertain
whether the two forms are cryptic subspecies or species.
Introduction
One of us (AM) collected a large centipede, 60mm in length, with 57 leg bearing segments (LBS) from
a beach on Guernsey, Channel Islands, which did not readily key out using Barber (2009). The
specimen (Fig. 1) was collected from beneath a stone at the top of a shingle and pebble beach just below
some low mud cliffs (<1m high) at La Croix Bay, Vale (49.50098N -2.50446W; WV360834) (Figs. 5A,
B) on 24th March 2019. Images of the specimen, including close ups of key features required for
determination (Figs. 2A-D), were posted on BMIG’s Isopods and Myriapods of Britain and Ireland
group (Marquis, 2019a) where it was provisionally identified as Pachymerium ferrugineum (C.L. Koch,
1835) by SJG (and others). However, specimens collected previously in Britain have had just 43 or 45
LBS and were typically 30-35mm (exceptionally to 50mm) in length (Eason, 1964; Barber, 2009). Thus,
it was forwarded to SJG for examination, who confirmed the identification as a female P. ferrugineum.
On 7th April AM collected a second female from the same site, 43mm in length and also with 57 LBS.
Images of this were also posted online (Marquis, 2019b). Associated species included the Scaly Cricket
Pseudomogoplistes vicentae Gorochov (Orthoptera) and the woodlice (Isopoda: Oniscidea) Ligia
oceanica (Linnaeus), Halophiloscia couchii (Kinahan), Philoscia muscorum (Scopoli), Porcellio scaber
Latreille, Porcellionides cingendus (Kinahan), Armadillidium vulgare (Latreille) and a male specimen
of Chaetophiloscia cellaria (Dolfuss), a woodlouse new to the British Isles (Gregory & Marquis, 2019).
The Channel Islands are an archipelago of relatively small islands located about 30km west of
Normandy, France (Fig. 3) with Guernsey some 65km² in area. They were, however, linked by land to
the French mainland to a much later date than Great Britain. Guernsey, with Alderney, Herm and Sark,
had separated from the mainland by about 7,000BC (Johnston, 1981). The Islands have several plant
and animal species such as the Jersey orchid (Anacamptis laxiflora) and the wall and green lizards
(Podarcis muralis, Lacerta viridis) which do not occur as natives in mainland Britain. The islands are
British Crown Dependencies and, traditionally, are included within many biological recording schemes
and, therefore, many published distribution atlases for the British Isles, including that for Centipedes
(Barber & Keay, 1988).
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Figure 1: Pachymerium ferrugineum female. Live specimen c. 60 mm in length with 57 LBS
(image © Andy Marquis).
Figure 2: Pachymerium ferrugineum female. Live specimen with 57 LBS, from Guernsey.
A) Head and forcipular tergite, dorsal view; B) Forcipules, ventral view; C) Dorsal coxal pores;
D) Ventral coxal pores (images © Andy Marquis).
A B
C D
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These are the first recorded occurrences of Pachymerium ferrugineum from the Channel Islands, where
it was not recorded by Barber (2006) in his account of myriapoda of the archipelago. Verhoeff (1902)
had distinguished a subspecies P. ferrugineum insulanum from the eastern Mediterranean, which was
larger than the typical P. ferrugineum ferrugineum and had more LBS (49-61). The discovery of a “long
form” (as we will term it for the present) of P. ferrugineum with 57 LBS from Guernsey prompted us to
review the occurrence of the forms of this species occurring in neighbouring France and throughout its
global range.
Figure 3: Location of the Channel Islands in relation to France and England
Indicates Pachymerium ferrugineum record reported herein.
Identification
The first specimen, a female with 57 LBS and 60mm in length, was examined by SJG. It matches the
description of Pachymerium ferrugineum given in Barber (2009, pp 110-111), with the exception of the
number of LBS (57 vs 43-45) and body length (60mm vs exceptionally to 50mm).
The clypeus and labrum were examined by removing the forcipules and maxillae and cleared in situ on a
temporary mount using clove oil (Figs. 4A, B). The labral mid-piece bears six blunt-tipped tubercles,
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but lacks the c. three lateral fimbriae figured in Eason (1964, fig. 140, p. 103). Each side-piece bears
about five prominent fimbriae, with a small number of less prominent ones that are curved and obscured
from view. Overall, the structure of the labrum (Fig. 4B) does not comply with that figured in Eason
(1964), but is very similar to that figured by Brolemann (1932, fig. 186, p. 136) of a female of the “long
form” (with 55 LBS) from the Alpes Maritimes, France. The labrum of form insulanum (“long form”)
figured by Kaczmarek (1969, fig. 1E, p. 264) appears somewhat intermediate between the two.
…………
Figure 4: Pachymerium ferrugineum, female with 57 LBS collected from Guernsey. A) Cephalic
shield, ventral view, showing clypeus with clypeal setae (c), post-antennary pair of setae (pa), posterior
pair of setae (pp) and labrum (lab); B) Labrum, showing mid-piece (mp) and side-piece (sp).
Using the dichotomous key in the Linnean Society Synopsis (Barber, 2009, p. 20), which is essentially
the same in the AIDGAP key (Barber, 2008), both the “short form” and “long form” will readily key to
P. ferrugineum. The insertion of an additional couplet (5A below) will readily separate the two forms:
Couplet 1 Æ Couplet 2 (coxal pores over entire surface of coxae of last legs)
Couplet 2 Æ Couplet 3 (coxal pores small and very numerous, distributed over both dorsal
and ventral surfaces of coxae)
Couplet 3 Æ Couplet 5 (head longer than broad, fewer than 73 pairs of legs)
(Pachymerium ferrugineum is a “rare inhabitant of coastal shingle”)
Couplet 5 Æ First option (claw on last legs, posterior end of forcipular tergite about the
same breadth as the head and ¾ breadth of next tergite: fig. 22 in Synopsis)
………………………………..…………….….Pachymerium ferrugineum: 5A
Couplet 5A 41-47 leg pairs……………...….….....Pachymerium ferrugineum “short form”
or 55-59 or more leg pairs..…………..…Pachymerium ferrugineum “long form”
pp
pa
cc
lab
A
sp
mp
B
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Using the tabular key in the Linnean Society Synopsis (Barber, 2009, pp.34-35), essentially the same in
the AIDGAP key (Barber, 2008), the two forms can be inserted separately into their respective places in
the key as there is no overlap in LBS. See table below.
Species LBS
Coxal pores Claw on
last leg
Basal node,
poison claw
Carpo-
phagus
structure
Sternal
pore
groups
Other
features
Max.
length
No. Position
P. f. “long
form” 55-59 Dorsal /
ventral 9 9 no 9 Coastal,
rare 70mm
P. f. “short
form” 41-47 Dorsal /
ventral 9 9 no 9 Coastal,
rare 50mm
Note: Specimens with much more than 59 leg pairs are known from some Mediterranean locations e.g.
Greece (S. Simaiakis, pers. comm.)
There may be other details separating the two forms.
Occurrence: Short form, south & east coasts of England; Long form: Channel Islands.
Discussion
A global species
Pachymerium ferrugineum, first described from Germany, is probably one of the most widely
distributed centipedes in Europe and occurs as an introduction across much of the globe. Indeed,
Nefediev, et al. (2017) describe it as “a trans Palaearctic polyzonal species”. It has been found across
Eurasia from Macaronesia to Central Asia and Siberia as well as in the Russian Far East, Taiwan and
Japan. It is also found across North America as far as Alaska and the Pribilof Islands and from Mexico,
Chile, Juan Fernandez, Hawai’i and Easter Island. It is also known from Asia Minor, Caucasus, North
Africa, The Azores, Canary Islands and Madeira.
In northern and western Europe its distribution is interesting. It is known from Norway, Sweden,
Finland and Denmark, and from the White Sea coast as well as inland in north-east Europe. In Eastern
Fennoscandia records include from under stones, in decaying Fucus and other debris on seashores as
well as from dry terrestrial sites (Palmen, 1949). Meidell (1979) drew attention to the fact that this
species and Strigamia maritima (Leach) form an “east-west pair of species” with S. maritima occurring
along the western coast and P. ferrugineum along the eastern coast of southern Norway and a zone of
overlap in both the north and south ( see also Simaiakis et al., 2010). All records from the Netherlands
and Belgium appear to be from inland sites (Berg et al., 2008; Lock, 2000, 2009). It has described as
widely distributed in France and Corsica and favouring the seashore “without being strictly halobiontic
or highly halophilous” (Geoffroy & Iorio, 2009). From France there are records from about 30
départements, both inland and coastal including Finistère, Loire-Atlantique, Morbihan and Vendée. It is
often thought of as an exclusively coastal species but this is certainly not necessarily the case - it has a
wide ecological range and has been found up to 2,800m in the Hoggar Mountains in the Sahara (Palmen
& Rantala, 1954).
Means of dispersal
Geophilomorph centipedes, both terrestrial and littoral have been shown to be tolerant of immersion
(more so than lithobiomorphs) (Hennings, 1903; Plateau, 1890). Schubart (1929) found that submerged
specimens of P. ferrugineum from Germany survived 7-68 days at room temperature (16-18°C) whilst
Suomalainen (1939) reported 24-95 days at 19-27°C and 68-178 days at 6-12°C for Finnish animals.
Given this characteristic it is possible to speculate that, amongst possible modes of accidental dispersal,
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Figure 5: La Croix Bay, Guernsey. A) View of bay. Specimens of P. ferrugineum were collected from
among shingle at top of beach near top-centre of image; B) Close up of shingle and low mud cliff
behind (images © Andy Marquis).
A
B
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that by rafting, such as on plant debris (hydrochory), is a likely dispersal mechanism for animals.
Littoral species are in an optimum situation or this, both in terms of being accidentally carried away and
of establishing themselves when they arrive at a suitable destination. Suomalainen had, indeed, reported
P. ferrugineum floating on sea water for as long as 31 days before sinking and long survival when
submerged in such water (Barber, 2011). The varied nature of coasts would be likely to break up species
into isolated local populations which could favour genetic divergence and dispersal across oceans and to
islands would accentuate this effect. This may be reflected in variations in characters between
populations at different sites, for instance variation of numbers of leg-bearing segments.
Occurrence in Britain
Despite the wide distribution of P. ferrugineum and its apparent potential distribution by rafting, in the
UK it is known from just five coastal shingle sites in southern and eastern England (Sussex, Suffolk,
Isle of Wight, Dorset & Essex) (Lewis, 1960; Barber, 2009) and is designated Nationally Rare (Lee,
2015).
The first records were of ten specimens found by John Lewis between August 1957 and May 1958 at
Cuckmere Haven (Lewis, 1960) during the course of sampling for Strigamia maritima (Leach) when
some 1,500 specimens of the latter were taken between autumn 1956 and summer 1959 (Lewis, 1961).
Subsequent records were “one-offs”, except those from Essex, which were a series of reports from
March 2012 to June 2015 by Keith Lugg from Colne Point (pers. comm.) and there was some evidence
of a possibly well-established colony there. Clearly P. ferrugineum is very much on the edge of its range
on the British coast and it is difficult to be certain whether the species is well-established (but either
difficult to find or genuinely rare) or whether these records derive from animals that are recent colonists
and may, perhaps, have only a transitory existence here.
Variation in LBS and ecology
The numbers of leg bearing segments (LBS) in each sex, as in all but one family of geophilomorphs, are
variable. In Palmen’s (1949) study in Eastern Fennoscandia they ranged between 41-45 in males and 43-
47 in females and in a more recent study by Simaiakis et al. (2010) modal values for Scandinavia
(Sweden & Finland) were 41/43 LBS in males and 45 in females. The latter also demonstrated a north-
south temperature cline in segment numbers. If one looks through the literature, numbers like 41-55/41-
57 (France; Brolemann, 1932, copied by Demange, 1981), 41-55/43-57 (Scandinavia: Andersen et al.,
2005), 41-55/43-57 (Austria; Koren, 1986), 41-57 (Central Europe, Schubart, 1964), 41-55/43-57
(Netherlands: Berg & Evenhuis, 2001), 43-57 (Cyprus: Simaiakis et al., 2013) so clearly there is a wide
range.
Verhoeff (1902) had distinguished a subspecies P. ferrugineum insulanum from the Greek islands of
Syros, Aegina and Naxos and also from Herzegovina, Dalmatia, Tunisia and Cilicia (Turkey) which was
larger than the typical P. ferrugineum ferrugineum and had more LBS (49-61). Details for this form
were also given by Kaczmarek (1969) who reported insulanum from Bulgaria, from the Black Sea coast,
whereas the typical form was found in the central part of the country. She had actually looked at only 28
specimens from 5 locations and she gave LBS numbers as 57-59. A number of other characters, mostly
head features, were given by both authors and Verhoeff mentioned a colour difference, heller gelb
(‘lighter yellow’), compared with the mehr orangegelb (‘more orange-yellow’) of P. ferrugineum
ferrugineum.
English specimens that had been found had 43 or 45 LBS and were typically 30-35mm (exceptionally
50mm) in length (Eason, 1964; Barber, 2009). In the five Cuckmere Haven specimens examined
(Lewis, 1960) the number of clypeal hairs corresponded fairly closely with Verhoeff’s description of P.
ferrugineum ferrugineum, but the number of labral teeth varied over the range given for both types (5 to
7+1 transitional) and in the adolescens was even lower (3) than that given for either. It was also noted
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by Lewis that Ribaut (1915) had described a specimen from Algeria which, whilst otherwise having the
characters of insulanum had only 5 labral teeth.
On the island of Crete Simaiakis & Mylonas (2003) reported the occurrence of two distinct forms of P.
ferrugineum: a “short form” with 41-47 LBS, which occurs on the main island (except on the coast), and
a “long form” with 55-59 LBS (which they called P. ferrugineum f. insularum), which occurred mainly
on small satellite islands and on the coast. There is no overlap in the range of LBS. In a subsequent
paper Simaiakis et al. (2004) revealed some interesting ecological information about the two forms:
P. ferrugineum ferrugineum was very common from western to eastern Crete, up to 2,000 m asl
but mainly between 1,000 and 2,000m. Females occurred from late autumn to early spring whilst
males were found in late autumn and early winter. It was said to be quite common in habitats
modified by man, in Pinus brutia forests, in phryganic and maquis ecosystems with Coridothymus
capitatus, Sarcopterium spinosum, Pistacia lentiscus and Nerium oleander as well as in
mountainous areas dominated by Quercus coccifera, in subalpine and alpine phrygana.
P. ferrugineum insularum was very common in the southernmost areas of Crete (altitudinal range
effectively around 0m). It was found on the small satellite islands and on almost every coastal
area around Crete. Adults occurred in the spring as well as late autumn and early winter. It
preferred coastal phryganic areas and sand dunes. It was also collected on a plateau dominated by
Berberis cretica, Genista acanthoclada, Sarcopoterium spinosum, Phlomis sp., and some Quercus
coccifera and Acer sempervirens.
In Greece, LBS numbers vary from 41/43 up to 63/65 with, apparently, not continuous variation, but a
clear geographical separation of the “short” and “long forms” (S. Simaiakis, pers. comm.).
In France P. ferrugineum does favour the seashore, being widespread along the Mediterranean and
Atlantic coasts, but is not considered to be strictly halobiontic or highly halophilous (Geoffroy & Iorio,
2009). There are also records from western and southern Brittany and scattered records inland (Iorio,
2014). Interestingly, an apparently similar condition to the Cretan one appeared to occur in an area of
north west France where Iorio & Tiberghien (2007) report 43 and 45 LBS for two females collected
inland on the mainland (at Saint-Rémy- la-Varenne and Brézé) and 53, 55 and 57 LBS for three females
collected from a small off-shore island (Île de Groix). However, Blower (1987) found 3 large females
with 55 LBS at Pointe de Benodet and an immature with 51 LBS at Beg Miel in south Finistère whilst
Iorio (2014) reports on the species (without detail of LBS) at Penmarc’h. All these latter three sites were
on the mainland of the départment.
Clearly the pattern of occurrence of the two forms in France is especially of interest in relation to the
Channel Islands. Etienne Iorio (pers. comm.) has kindly made available some of his data and offered
comments about the French situation where there is both a “short form” with 41-49 LBS and a “long
form” with 51-57. Although these seem to form a continuum, apparently specimens of both forms with
49 LBS and 51 LBS are rare (as are the “long form” ones with 59) and there appears to be no difficulty
in separating the two forms. Ecologically the two forms are distinct with the “long form” being
exclusively a species of sea-beaches (Mediterranean and Atlantic) as a halobiont, found up to 10m
above the strandline (lower than this in Greece), and records of the “short form” include habitats
described as river banks, alder wood, salt marsh, alluvial wood, humid wood and mixed wood on river
bank. It seems that “island” vs “mainland” is less determining than habitat with mainland beaches
having the “long form”. One location, the beach of an island, was seemingly unusual in having single
animals with 45 and 55 LBS. Salt marshes, such as those of Hérault, an “intermediate habitat”, tend to
have the “short form”.
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Conclusion
In addition to different maximum body lengths and non-overlapping distributions of LBS, the ecological
information regarding the two forms in both Crete and France does certainly suggest that we might be
looking at distinct or incipiently distinct subspecies or species. Apart from obviously much needed
laboratory studies on the two forms from recognisably distinct “form” populations and more data both
in general about the variation within P. ferrugineum populations in Europe, microscopical examination
of the features used by Verhoeff and Kaczmarek to separate P. ferrugineum ferrugineum from
P. ferrugineum insulanum in specimens from different “forms” and locations as well as genetic and
biochemical studies are desirable. Unfortunately, the British Isles are probably not the best place to do
this latter!
Acknowledgements
Stelios Simaiakis for confirming the sex of the Guernsey specimens and for many valuable comments
and information relating to the species, Etienne Iorio for most useful information about the habits and
occurrence of the two “forms” of Pachymerium ferrugineum in France and Antoine Racine for his data
& comments.
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... Pachymerium ferrugineum (C.L. Koch, 1835) is one of the better-known species in this genus. This Palearctic species has been reported from European, Asian and North African regions and introduced to America (Nefediev et al., 2017;Barber et al., 2020;Cassar & Zapparoli, 2021;Dyachkov & Nedoev, 2021). Currently, P. ferrugineum is one of the most widely distributed Pachymerium species due to its dispersal by anthropochory, ecological tolerance and capability to colonise new environments (Bonato et al., 2005;Volkova, 2016;Nefediev et al., 2017;Barber et al., 2020). ...
... This Palearctic species has been reported from European, Asian and North African regions and introduced to America (Nefediev et al., 2017;Barber et al., 2020;Cassar & Zapparoli, 2021;Dyachkov & Nedoev, 2021). Currently, P. ferrugineum is one of the most widely distributed Pachymerium species due to its dispersal by anthropochory, ecological tolerance and capability to colonise new environments (Bonato et al., 2005;Volkova, 2016;Nefediev et al., 2017;Barber et al., 2020). In the Iberian Peninsula, P. ferrugineum inhabits shrublands, grasslands, agricultural fields and forests (Carballo et al., 1986;Carballo & Daza, 1991;Daza et al., 1991;García-Ruiz & Santibáñez, 1995;García-Ruiz, 1999, 2003Sammler et al., 2006;Cabanillas, 2021). ...
... Additionally, some authors reported the species in peninsular and insular coastal areas of Spain, for example in beaches and salt marshes (Negrea & Matic, 1973;Carballo & Daza, 1991;Sammler et al., 2006). P. ferrugineum is one of the few centipede species able to tolerate sea water submersion (Schubart, 1929;Suomalainen, 1939;Lewis, 1981;Barber, 2011;Barber et al., 2020). This suggests the existence of additional ways of dispersal in P. ferrugineum by floating trunks or plant remains (Barber et al., 2020). ...
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The third chapter gives a complete list of past and recent authors who published data on the distribution and/or the localization of the French species for each French department : from the unique quotation of one species in a unique locality to studies with hundreds or thousands of specimens in a French department or region ; also including various revisions which quote with some minimal details species in the country as well as the more non-specialized publications (for example, many papers on invertebrate biospeleology which quote centipedes in one or several French localities). Approximately 300 bibliographic references have been included. New data of several French and foreign colleagues are also included, as well as our own unpublished data. A revised list of French Chilopoda is supplied with the catalogue of species, on the basis of the synonymies and the chresonymies which are established in this work and also in the recent other revisions. 147 valid taxa (143 species and 4 subspecies) are known today in France. However, 6 species are doubtful and will require future studies to determine their validity and/or their presence in France. With the aim of determining the potentially existing species in France, the main papers concerning adjacent areas are synthetized. 11 species are potentially present and also an exotic species. The chapter “catalogue des espèces” (= catalogue of species), the biggest part of this book, is divided into 147 parts, one for each terminal taxon at present recognized as valid (even for the few taxa which are considered as possibly doubtful). The valid name and the main synonyms and chresonyms of each taxon easily show up. Many new chresonyms and identifications are discussed and established. The genus Stigmatogaster Latzel, 1880 is here preferred to Haplophilus Cook, 1896, because of the lack of motives on this delicate choice in BONATO & MINELLI (2014). Several new synonyms are proposed (syn. nov.): Lithobius (Lithobius) aculeatus Matic, 1975 is a junior synonym of L. (L.) piceus piceus L. Koch, 1862 ; L. (L.) marcuzzii Matic, 1975 is a junior synonym of L. (L.) mononyx Latzel, 1888 ; L. (L.) subtilis geoffroyi Iorio & Berg, 2007 is a junior synonym of L. (L.) mutabilis steffeni Matic, 1976 which is elevated to species level : L. (L.) steffeni Matic, 1976 stat. nov.; Geophilus aetnensis Verhoeff, 1928 and G. insculptus debilis Brolemann, 1930 are junior synonyms of G. gavoyi Chalande, 1910. A synthesis on the global distribution and on biotic and abiotic prefences of each French taxon, particularly on its habitats, is made with the help of French and adjacent data. The data of all authors quoted in the third chapter are written here in detail for each department. After the catalogue chapter, the state of knowledge on the national level is given. A table quotes all the endemic and subendemic species of France, 28 and 32 taxa respectively, as well as “local endemics”, i. e. the cases in those taxa whose global distribution is particularly restricted. We also determine the number of species formally known in each French department in a second table. These numbers underline the big lack of knowledge in more than one third of French departments. Other departments appear to be better known but data are old, even very old and future new data are needed. A preliminary list of main preferential to specialized species for some habitats of each main biogeographic region in France (Continental, Atlantic, Alpine, Pyrenean, Mediterranean) is defined. These lists must be widely complemented and refined in the future, but they give a first reading of the more specialized biodiversity which can be expected in those habitats. A perspective of the use of Chilopoda communities to estimate the disturbance of natural habitats is proposed. A list of 19 species which can be considered as really “sensitive” (i. e. probably to very probably endangered, with a very strong stake in preservation) is given on the basis of easy but valuable criteria. Several other species could almost integrate this group, and this list will certainly be completed in the future, while waiting for a future IUCN Red List of French centipedes. Maps of presence/absence per department are given for each valid terminal taxon, after the following criteria : departments where the taxon has not been found ; departments where the taxon is quoted before 1980 (or on the basis of a reference after 1980 which clearly quotes only data before 1980 on the taxon) ; departments where the taxon is quoted from 1980 to 2014 or recent unpublished data ; departments where the presence of the taxa is quoted but uncertain or doubtful ; departments where a taxon is quoted before 1980 but where it has not been found despite recent active research in historic localities, possibly extinct or at least in strong regression in concerned departments. The bibliography includes all references used in this book. An index makes it possible to find easily the pages which concern the valid French taxa, and also all invalid names and species of other countries.
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Since the publication of the previous checklist of the Belgian centipedes, there have been a lot of discoveries. Several additional species have been reported: Lithobius valesiacus, Lithobius mutabilis and Lithobius pelidnus and also a historical record of Scutigera coleoptrata was found in literature. Due to the confusion in literature, Geophilus proximus was incorrectly listed for the Belgian fauna, the correct name for the species under consideration is Geophilus insculptus. There also have been a lot of taxonomical changes, especially in the order Geophilomorpha. Finally, two additional species are reported here for the first time for Belgium: Henia montana and Geophilus osquidatum. Depuis la publication de la précédente liste des espèces de chilopodes de Belgique, il y a eu beaucoup de découvertes. Plusieurs espèces additionnelles ont été rapportées: Lithobius valesiacus, Lithobius mutabilis et Lithobius pelidnus et aussi une observation historique de Scutigera coleoptrata qui a été trouvée dans la littérature. A cause des confusions dans la littérature, Geophilus proximus était incorrectement mentionné pour la faune belge, le nom correct pour l'espèce concernée est Geophilus insculptus. Il y a eu aussi beaucoup de changements dans la taxonomie, surtout dans l'ordre Geophilomorpha. Finalement, deux espèces sont rapportées ici pour la première fois pour la Belgique: Henia montana et Geophilus osquidatum.
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More than 40 species from at least 20 genera in 6 or more families of the Geophilomorpha (Chilopoda) are recorded from marine littoral habitats in various parts of the world. Although there is little recent work on their physiology it seems that they have the capacity to tolerate the osmotic and respiratory regime that is involved and their anatomical adaptations to a burrowing habit and, at least in some cases, their behaviour makes them a fairly constant component of sea-shore ecosystems where they sometimes occur in surprisingly large numbers. It is suggested that the richness of the food source in these habitats, along with other factors such as shelter, microclimate and possibly absence of parasites and/or predators would be the main reason why these now terrestrial animals have re-invaded the seashore so many times since their first appearance in the Palaeozoic. Their tolerance of seawater and occurrence on coasts could lead to passive distribution by rafting and the occurrence of isolated populations could result in genetic differences.