Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dragons out of the dark: New species of Dragon Millipedes discovered in Chinese caves

06.04.2016

Six new species of Chinese Dragon Millipedes, including species that live exclusively in caves (Fig. 1), were recently described through international cooperation of research institutes from China, Russia and Germany. These cave species have unusually long legs and antennae, in one case resembling a stick insect (but with many more legs, Fig. 2), others appear ghosty white and are translucent (Fig. 3). The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

In many tropical countries, there are numerous millipede species still awaiting discovery and description. Millipedes from China are especially little-known. Six particularly unusual species of so-called 'Dragon Millipedes', four of which found exclusively in caves, were recently discovered in southern China by an international team of researchers.


The extremely long legs of the Stick Insect Dragon Millipede, Desmoxytes phasmoides give the animal an unusual appearance, similar to a stick insect.

Sunbin Huang & Xinhui Wang (South China Agricultural University)


The Ghost Dragon Millipede, Desmoxytes similis, shows another common adaptation to underground life in caves; the complete loss of pigmentation gives the animal a ghost-like appearance.

Sunbin Huang & Xinhui Wang (South China Agricultural University)

The team included Miss Liu Weixin from the South China Agricultural University of Guangzhou, China [LINK1], currently conducting research for her PhD focusing on Chinese cave millipedes at the Centre of Taxonomy at the Research Museum Koenig (ZFMK), Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity in Bonn, Germany [LINK2], her advisor Prof. Tian Mingyi [LINK3] and a renowned millipede expert, Dr. Sergei Golovatch, from the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.

Dragon Millipedes, a genus of millipedes living in SE Asia, characterized by being armoured with unusual spine-like projections as well as toxic hydrogen cyanide, have become particularly famous since the 2007 discovery and description of the "Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede" in Thailand [LINK4].

This discovery highlighted a large number of unknown millipede species [LINK4] in the Mekong region [LINK5] and worldwide [LINK6]. While the newly described cave Dragon Millipedes from China lack the 'shocking' warning colour of their surface-living relatives, they are no less spectacular.

One of the species was named the 'Stick Insect Dragon Millipede' because it features extremely long legs and antennae, and resembles a stick insect, but with many more legs (Fig. 2). Two of the other species from caves fully lost their colour, which is a common characteristic of cave-living animals.

Because of this, they appear ghostly white (Fig. 3). All the newly described species come from the two southern Chinese regions of Guangdong and Guangxi Zhuang, which host a large number of spectacular caves (Fig. 1). These caves are only now being explored in some detail.

In the course of her PhD, Miss Liu Weixin has already explored more than 200 Chinese caves (Fig. 1) and discovered and described over 20 new millipede species. The Dragon Millipedes are among her most spectacular discoveries as they exhibit extreme cave adaptations including the loss of pigmentation and extremely elongated legs and antennae. During her guest research year at the Research Museum Koenig in Bonn, Germany, Liu is currently busy describing more than two dozen further millipede species, which she collected from Chinese caves – literally bringing to light an unknown world.

Link1 https://www.zfmk.de/en/zfmk/weixin-liu

Link2 https://www.zfmk.de/en

Link3 http://xy.scau.edu.cn/nxy/cx/Ch/xrjsview.asp?ID=305&SortID=167

Link4 http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150320-meet-two-new-dragon-millipede-species-fi...

Link5 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/12/photogalleries/greater-mekong-ne...

Link6 http://www.biotec.or.th/en/index.php/news-2008/755-thailand-s-shocking-pink-drag...


Contact person(s): Sergei Golovatch [English], 7(499)936-7671,
sgolovatch@yandex.ru; Thomas Wesener [German], 0049 (0)228 9122-425, t.wesener@zfmk.de

Publication: Six new species of dragon millipedes, genus Desmoxytes Chamberlin, 1923, mostly from caves in China (Diplopoda, Polydesmida, Paradoxosomatidae). Weixin Liu, Sergei Golovatch, Mingyi Tian

ZooKeys 577: 1-24 (05 Apr 2016)
doi: 10.3897/zookeys.577.7825


Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig – Leibniz-Institute for Animal Biodiversity (ZFMK) is an independent research institute. The focus of research is on performing an inventory of the zoological species diversity on earth, on the analysis of changes in biodiversity as a result of environmental factors, and on evolutionary processes at the morphological and molecular levels. ZFMK furthermore explores the context of structure and function of ecological systems, advanced scientific methods, and the study of the history of science. The permanent exhibition “Our blue planet – the living network” offers a genuine nature experience based on naturalistic ecosystem displays.

The Leibniz Association is a network of 89 scientifically, legally, and economically independent research institutes and scientific service facilities. Leibniz Institutes perform strategic and thematically-oriented research and offer scientific service of national significance while striving to find scientific solutions for major social challenges.

Weitere Informationen:

http://zookeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=7825

Sabine Heine | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Abrupt cloud clearing events over southeast Atlantic Ocean are new piece in climate puzzle
23.07.2018 | University of Kansas

nachricht Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas
19.07.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The Maturation Pattern of the Hippocampus Drives Human Memory Deve

23.07.2018 | Science Education

FAU researchers identify Parkinson's disease as a possible autoimmune disease

23.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

O2 stable hydrogenases for applications

23.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>