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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pink and silver stripes

A close-up of another critter that I encountered in the rain last night:

The next view shows the head, with dark eyes and segmented antennae:

This is a very large millipede with wonderful pink and silver stripes.  I'd estimate it was ~2.5 inches long (7 cm) and ~1/4 inch (0.6 cm) in diameter.

While trying to identify this millipede, I found an Annotated Checklist of the Millipeds of California published by Rowland Shelley in 2002.  Do you want to guess how many species and subspecies of millipedes there are in California? (The answer is below the next image.)

There are 226 species and subspecies of millipedes in the Golden State.  Whew!  That's a lot of millipedes (and a lot of little legs running around California!).  

Unfortunately, the list didn't help me identify this particular millipede, so if you know which species it is, please don't hesitate to contact me.

1 comment:

Jackie Sones said...

I wrote to Rowland Shelley for some help identifying this millipede. The blog website gave him some trouble, so I'm posting his comment here:

"Thanks for counting the number of species and subspecies in CA, Jackie; I never thought of doing that when I developed the checklist, which updates the much earlier one of J. S. Buckett (1964). Could you also please count the number of genera and families, as this figure is a better indicator of diversity than just species-group taxa. Afraid I don't know what that millipede is; I haven't seen that color pattern before in a juliformian. It has the overall body form of a spirobolidan, and that order is present in Marin and Sonoma cos., but on your picture of the head do not see a frontal groove, which is diagnostic for Spirobolida. The raindrops hinder viewing the dorsum, but focusing down on it as best I can, I also do not see the strong striae that characterize the family Paeromopodidae (Julida), which is also in this area of CA, and it does not seem to be a representative of Parajulidae (Julida), which are ubiquitous in western North America. So, I can quickly eliminate all the known possibilities that this can be based on body form, and I am stumped. It does seem to be a male, as the body is slightly but noticeably distorted around segment 7, indicating that the animal is a male with gonopods inside the body, and the gonopods will provide a definitive answer. So, I'm VERY curious myself and hence would like to see this individual to solve this mystery. Do you have it and can you send it to me?"