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      A redescription of the poorly known cave millipede Skleroprotopus membranipedalis Zhang, 1985 (Diplopoda, Julida, Mongoliulidae), with an overview of the genus Skleroprotopus Attems, 1901

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      Subterranean Biology

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          We redescribe the poorly known Chinese millipede Skleroprotopus membranipedalis Zhang, 1985 recorded from Shi-Hua (Stone Flower) Cave, Fangshan County, Beijing. The species’ original description is in Chinese in an obscure outlet which significantly hampers its recognition from its congeners. Here, based on newly collected material, we provide the first scanning electron micrographs of important taxonomic traits. In addition to its type locality, we report the species also from Yun-Shui (Cloud Water) Cave, situated in the same county, some 18 km away. We propose the genus Senbutudoiulus Miyosi, 1957 to be a junior subjective synonym of Skleroprotopus Attems, 1901, syn. n., and introduce the following new combination: Skleroprotopus platypodus (Miyosi, 1957), comb. n. (former Senbutudoiulus).

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          Convergent Evolution of Unique Morphological Adaptations to a Subterranean Environment in Cave Millipedes (Diplopoda)

          Animal life in caves has fascinated researchers and the public alike because of the unusual and sometimes bizarre morphological adaptations observed in numerous troglobitic species. Despite their worldwide diversity, the adaptations of cave millipedes (Diplopoda) to a troglobitic lifestyle have rarely been examined. In this study, morphological characters were analyzed in species belonging to four different orders (Glomerida, Polydesmida, Chordeumatida, and Spirostreptida) and six different families (Glomeridae, Paradoxosomatidae, Polydesmidae, Haplodesmidae, Megalotylidae, and Cambalopsidae) that represent the taxonomic diversity of class Diplopoda. We focused on the recently discovered millipede fauna of caves in southern China. Thirty different characters were used to compare cave troglobites and epigean species within the same genera. A character matrix was created to analyze convergent evolution of cave adaptations. Males and females were analyzed independently to examine sex differences in cave adaptations. While 10 characters only occurred in a few phylogenetic groups, 20 characters were scored for in all families. Of these, four characters were discovered to have evolved convergently in all troglobitic millipedes. The characters that represented potential morphological cave adaptations in troglobitic species were: (1) a longer body; (2) a lighter body color; (3) elongation of the femora; and (4) elongation of the tarsi of walking legs. Surprisingly, female, but not male, antennae were more elongated in troglobites than in epigean species. Our study clearly shows that morphological adaptations have evolved convergently in different, unrelated millipede orders and families, most likely as a direct adaptation to cave life.
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            Myriapods collected in Shansi, North China

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              A new genus of mongoliulid millipedes from the Far East of Russia with a list of species in the family (Diplopoda Julida Mongoliulidae)

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Subterranean Biology
                SB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2615
                1768-1448
                July 12 2018
                July 12 2018
                : 26
                : 55-66
                Article
                10.3897/subtbiol.26.26225
                © 2018

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