A case of mass occurrence of Sandalodesmus araujoi (Schubart, 1946) in a municipality of São Paulo, Brazil and description of the heretofore unknown female (Polydesmida, Chelodesmidae)

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Somatic characters are shared by many Chelodesmidae groups, and generic placement and species identifications traditionally have been based on gonopodal morphology. Female genitalic characters have been largely neglected and are rarely photographed or illustrated. This is rather unfortunate as the morphology of female genitalia presents important characters and may be decisive for developing a more robust family classification. We describe the heretofore unknown female of Sandalodesmus araujoi (Schubart, 1946), previously known only from the male holotype collected in São Paulo, Brazil in December 1943; discuss the utility of female genitalic characters for species delineation in Sandalodesmus; and report the first case of a mass occurrence in the Chelodesmidae. While an attempt at a formal diagnosis of Sandalodesmus females based on genitalic characters is premature, the vulvar morphology of the three taxa examined in this study suggests that female genitalia are species-specific. Some characters (i.e., asymmetric valves, presence of digitiform projections and reduction of setae on the internal basal portion of the valves) are constant between the species, suggesting utility for generic-level delineation. Mass occurrences of millipedes are typically unpredictable and likely related to variations in environmental conditions and/or anthropogenic modifications of natural habitats. Although the mass occurrence of S. araujoi reported herein was only observed once, the event coincides with the mating period of millipedes during the rainy season in Brazil. On the other hand, the region where the species was found has been the target of intense urban development, including replacement of natural habitats with residential areas, which may have influenced its population dynamics.
Abstract in Portuguese
Os caracteres somáticos são compartilhados por muitos grupos de Chelodesmidae, e o posicionamento genérico e as identificações de espécies tradicionalmente têm sido baseadas na morfologia do gonópodo. Carateres genitais das fêmeas foram amplamente negligenciados e raramente são fotografados ou ilustrados. Isso é lamentável, pois a morfologia da genitália feminina apresenta características importantes e pode ser decisiva para o desenvolvimento de uma classificação mais robusta. Neste trabalho, descrevemos a até então desconhecida fêmea de Sandalodesmus araujoi (Schubart, 1946)
Bouzan RS, Pupin GB, Brescovit AD, Ivanov K, Iniesta LF.M., Means JC.. A case of mass occurrence of Sandalodesmus araujoi (Schubart, 1946) in a municipality of São Paulo, Brazil and description of the heretofore unknown female (Polydesmida, Chelodesmidae). Biota Neotrop. 2023 Oct; 23(3):e20231521. doi:10.1590/1676-0611-BN-2023-1521.
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