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Open Access Millipedes faced with drought: the life cycle of a Mediterranean population of Ommatoiulus sabulosus (Linnaeus) (Diplopoda, Julida, Julidae)

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Growth, development and life-cycle duration of the millipede Ommatoiulus sabulosus (f. aimatopodus) were studied in a Mediterranean shrubland of southern France and compared with previous data from northwest Europe. Changes in the proportions of stadia during the course of the year were analysed in several generations. The results show that stadia VII and VIII are consistently reached after the first year of growth, and stadia IX and X after the second year. First reproduction may occur at the age of two years in males reaching maturity at stadium X, but not until the age of three in those reaching maturity at stadia XI and XII. Reproduction cannot occur until at least the age of three in females, which carry mature eggs from stadium XI onwards. In comparison with more northern populations, life-cycle duration is not shorter in the Mediterranean population but there are marked differences in its phenology: the breeding period is in autumn, so that juveniles of stadia II to VI are never faced with the summer drought, and larger individuals are mostly inactive in summer; moreover, all individuals moult once every winter. The results illustrate how julid millipedes of humid temperate regions could respond to higher temperatures and drier summer conditions in the context of climate change.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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