Special Publication #17 (Free PDF Download)
The Holarctic millipede family Xystodesmidae is composed of 62 genera and 393 species subdivided into three subfamilies and 12 tribes. While the center of known species diversity is in the U.S. Appalachians, the mountains of the western U.S. and East Asia contain the second largest share of known species diversity, and Central America and China hold the greatest undiscovered species diversity. Nonetheless, the Appalachian Mountains and East Asia remain as repositories of numerous undescribed species, and possess a number of poorly known genera awaiting a first revision. Here, we provide the first global species catalog of the Xystodesmidae. The primary goal of this checklist is to synthesize the current alpha-taxonomic information of Xystodesmidae as a foundation for future species discovery, description, and molecular systematics. Xystodesmid millipedes are some of the largest (some reaching 80 mm in length) and most inadequately known macrofauna in North America. With their significance as decomposers in forested ecosystems (particularly in regions with extirpated natural assemblages of earthworms) we know surprisingly little about this fascinating lineage of blind soil-dwelling animals.
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