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Polydesmida: Lissodesmus


Lissodesmus

There are at least 18 species of Lissodesmus in Tasmania, all H+20 and endemic. (Lissodesmus also occurs in Victoria, which has at least another 10 species). In many parts of the State they are the only Polydesmida more than 15 mm long which are likely to be seen by a casual collector. Local populations can average 50 individuals per square metre, and up to five species in the group can be found in the same small patch of forest.

Most Lissodesmus species are pale brown to chestnut brown, but some of the smaller species are off-white and the big L. montanus is a handsome reddish-brown. Most species are shallow burrowers in the top layers of richly organic soil. Mature males wander widely and can often be found sheltering under woody litter.


Lissodesmus species can be difficult to identify, and you will need to closely examine the gonopods of mature males. The drawing at right shows the right gonopod (the one on the millipede's right-hand side) viewed from behind and from the millipede's left-hand side.

Lissodesmus gonopods have four branches or processes, which are called the femoral process (f), prefemoral process (pf), solenomere (s) and tibiotarsus (tt). Some species also have a prominent little flange called an uncus (u) in the position shown.

In some of the brief species descriptions below I have highlighted features to look for on the gonopod. Check back to this drawing if you forget which process is which! In the gonopod images below, the solenomere is the process carrying a dashed line (sperm channel).

Lissodesmus gonopod

As shown in the maps below, most Lissodesmus species have small ranges, so you can also use the maps to help you with identification. If you find a male Lissodesmus in a place far from its mapped range, or whose gonopod looks nothing like those illustrated, please email me with the details.

Bonham et al. (2002), Chamberlin (1920), Jeekel (1984), Mesibov (1992, 1993a, 1993b, 1994, 1996b, 1997b, 1997c, 1998b, 1998c, 1999, 2006), Mesibov et al. (1995)


Move mouse cursor over icons to see images — no need to click!


Tasmania mapadrianae      gonopodsadrianae

L. adrianae Jeekel, 1984
Males ca 18 mm long, chestnut brown, paranota slightly reduced, rear corners level (see image at top of page)
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Common in all forest types in the wetter parts of the Northeast


Tasmania mapalisonae      gonopodsalisonae

L. alisonae Jeekel, 1984
Males ca 18 mm long, pale brown with reddish ring margins, paranota reduced, rear corners turned up
Right gonopod shown from right-hand side, two variants; the femoral process is forked and the tips of the fork are nearly touching
Common in all forest types in north central Tasmania


Tasmania mapanas      gonopodsanas

L. anas Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 16 mm long, very pale brown, paranota reduced, rear corners strongly turned up
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Uncommon in forest and coastal heathland in the Northwest
Formerly code-named 'sp. NW2'


Tasmania mapbashfordi      gonopodsbashfordi

L. bashfordi Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 15 mm long, very pale brown with reddish ring margins, paranota wide, rear corners level
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Uncommon in wet eucalypt forest in southeast Tasmania
Formerly code-named 'sp. SE1'


Tasmania mapclivulus      gonopodsclivulus

L. clivulus Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 17 mm long, light brown, paranota somewhat reduced, rear corners level
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Common in coastal heathland, coastal woodland and tea-tree forest on the northern West Coast
Formerly code-named 'sp. NW3'


Tasmania mapcognatus      gonopodscognatus

L. cognatus Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 14 mm long, off-white to very pale brown, paranota reduced, rear corners turned up
Right gonopod shown from right-hand side, two variants
Uncommon in dry and wet eucalypt forest in two Northeast areas: near Mt Barrow and near Tower Hill
Formerly code-named 'sp. NE3'


Tasmania mapcornutus      gonopodscornutus

L. cornutus Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 17 mm long, off-white, paranota reduced, rear corners curled up into 'horns'
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Fairly common in wet eucalypt forest and rainforest in the Southwest
Formerly code-named 'sp. SW1'


Tasmania mapdevexus      gonopodsdevexus

L. devexus Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 12 mm long, pale brown, paranota reduced, rear corners turned up
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right); the prefemoral process can be more or less spiky but the tibiotarsus always slants downwards
Locally abundant in wet eucalypt forest and rainforest in north central and northeast Tasmania
Formerly code-named 'sp. NE2'


Tasmania maphamatus      gonopodshamatus

L. hamatus Mesibov, 2006
Males 15-20 mm long (smaller in drier habitats), pale brown with light red speckling, paranota reduced, rear corners turned up
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Common in dry and wet eucalypt forest in eastern Tasmania
Formerly code-named 'sp. E1'


Tasmania maphorridomontis      gonopodshorridomontis

L. horridomontis Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 13 mm long, off-white, paranota reduced, rear corners slightly turned up
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Locally abundant in wet eucalypt forest and rainforest in a small part of the Northeast
Formerly code-named 'sp. NE5'


Tasmania mapinopinatus      gonopodsinopinatus

L. inopinatus Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 17 mm long, pale brown with light red patches, paranota reduced, rear corners turned up
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Uncommon in dry and wet eucalypt forest in the Eastern Tiers
Formerly code-named 'sp. E2' and 'sp. E3'


Tasmania maplatus      gonopodslatus

L. latus Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 20 mm long, paranota very wide, rear corners level; uniformly pale to chestnut brown near the coast, off-white with transverse purple banding inland
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Fairly common in forest and scrub habitats in northwest and western Tasmania
Formerly code-named 'sp. NW1'


Tasmania mapmodestus      gonopodsmodestus

L. modestus Chamberlin, 1920
Males ca 16 mm long, pale brown with red speckling, paranota wide, rear corners level and slightly turned out
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body
Variably common in wet eucalypt forest and rainforest in southeast Tasmania


Tasmania mapmontanus      gonopodsmontanus

L. montanus Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 23 mm long, light reddish-brown, paranota wide, rear corners level
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body
Known from four localities in central western Tasmania
Formerly code-named 'sp. SW2'


Tasmania maporarius      gonopodsorarius

L. orarius Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 17 mm long, uniformly light brown, paranota somewhat reduced, rear corners level
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Mainly in coastal habitats (down to the high tide line) between the Pedder and Pieman Rivers on the northern part of the West Coast, where it is locally abundant
Formerly code-named 'sp. NW4'


Tasmania mappeninsulensis      gonopodspeninsulensis

L. peninsulensis Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 16 mm long, light brown, paranota wide, rear corners level.
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Uncommon in wet eucalypt forest on Tasman and Forestier Peninsulas
Formerly code-named 'sp. P1'


Tasmania mapperporosus      gonopodsperporosus

L. perporosus Jeekel, 1984
Males ca 18 mm long, light brown with reddish-purple transverse banding (see image at top of page), paranota wide, rear corners level
Right gonopod shown from centre-line of body (left) and from head (right)
Males, females and juveniles recognisable in having ozopore formula 5, 7, 9-19
Common in all forest and scrub habitats in the Northwest


Tasmania mapplomleyi      gonopodsplomleyi

L. plomleyi Mesibov, 2006
Males ca 11 mm long, pale brown, paranota reduced, rear corners level
Right gonopod shown from right side (left), from centre-line of body (center) and from head (right)
Rare; known from only three localities in the Northeast
Formerly code-named 'sp. NE4'