Friday 4 January 2019

Australobius tracheoperspicuus: A new species of Centipede from Guizhou Province, southwest China.

Centipedes (Myripoda) are carnivorous terrestrial Arthropods with elongate, multi-segmented bodies, having one pair of legs per body segment. The number of legs varies highly, from under 20 to over 300, though the number of pairs is always odd. The first pair of limbs is modified to form a pair of venomous forcipules (claws) used to subdue prey. There are around 3000 described species of extant centipedes, and it is though that the current number of species in existence is over 8000, though most of these are very small. Centipedes are thought to have been among the first Animal species to colonise the land, with a fossil record that dates back to the Late Silurian, around 430 million years ago.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 8 November 2018, Qing Li of the Guizhou Institute of Biology, Su-jian Pei of the School of Life Sciences at Hengshui University, Xuan Guo, also of the Guizhou Institute of Biology, and Hui-qin Ma of the Scientific Research Office at Hengshui University, and Hui-ming Chen, again of the Guizhou Institute of Biology, describe a new species of Centipede from Guizhou Province in southwest China.

The new species is placed in the genus Australobius, of which five species have previously been reported in China, and given the specific name tracheoperspicuus, in reference to a clearly visible trachea connected to the valve of the third tergite. The species is described from seven specimens, two adult males, one adult female, and four larval females. The adults of the species range from 17.43 to 19.24 mm in length, and are a pale yellow-brown in colour. The species was found on the walls and floor of two limestone caves in Weining Yi Hui and Miao Autonomous County.

Australobius tracheoperspicuus, male in dorsal view. Li et al. (2018).

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