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Open Access Cave Diplopoda of southern China with reference to millipede diversity in Southeast Asia

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The diversity of Diplopoda in caves of southern China is remarkably high, often 5–6 species per cave, consisting mostly of local endemics and presumed troglobionts. These are evidently biased to just a few lineages, mainly members of the orders Chordeumatida and Callipodida, the families Cambalopsidae (Spirostreptida) and Haplodesmidae (Polydesmida) or the genera Pacidesmus, Epanerchodus and Glenniea (all Polydesmida, Polydesmidae), Trichopeltis (Polydesmida, Cryptodesmidae), Dexmoxytes (Polydesmida, Paradoxosomatidae) and Hyleoglomeris (Glomerida, Glomeridae). All these taxa, especially the Paradoxosomatidae and Cambalopsidae (usually amounting to about 60% and 10% of the total species diversity in the Oriental fauna, respectively), are moderately to highly speciose across Southeast Asia, being largely epigean. However, the epigean Diplopoda of southern China are yet badly understudied, since much of the collecting and taxonomic exploration efforts still focus on cavernicoles. The Oriental Region is the only biogeographic realm globally that harbours all 16 orders of Diplopoda, of which 14 have already been encountered in China and/or the immediately adjacent parts of Indochina. Thus, China may actually prove to support no less than 1,000 millipede species of various origins, mainly Oriental and Palaearctic.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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