Project description:Fungivorous millipedes (subterclass Colobognatha) likely represent some of the earliest known mycophagous terrestrial arthropods, yet their fungal partners remain elusive. Here we describe relationships between fungi and the fungivorous millipede, Brachycybe lecontii. Their fungal community is surprisingly diverse, including 176 genera, 39 orders, four phyla, and several undescribed species. Of particular interest are twelve genera conserved across wood substrates and millipede clades that comprise the core fungal community of B. lecontii. Wood decay fungi, long speculated to serve as the primary food source for Brachycybe species, were absent from this core assemblage and proved lethal to millipedes in pathogenicity assays while entomopathogenic Hypocreales were more common in the core but had little effect on millipede health. This study represents the first survey of fungal communities associated with any colobognath millipede, and these results offer a glimpse into the complexity of millipede fungal communities.
Project description:Millipedes may cause unexpected damage when they are introduced to new locations, becoming invaders that leave behind their old parasites and predators. Therefore, it was interesting to find numerous rhabditid nematodes within the gut of the invasive phytophagous millipede Chamberlinius hualienensis Wang, 1956 (Diplopoda, Paradoxosomatidae) from Hachijojima (Japan) in November, 2014. This millipede originated in Taiwan but was discovered in Japan in 1986. The nematodes were identified as juvenile Oscheius rugaoensis (Zhang et al., 2012) Darsouei et al., 2014 (Rhabditidae), and juvenile and adult Mononchoides sp. (Diplogastridae) based on images, morphometrics, and sequences of 18S and 28S rDNA. A novel short 28S sequence of a separate population of Oscheius necromenus SB218 from Australian millipedes was also included in a phylogenetic comparison of what can now be characterized as a species complex of millipede-associated Oscheius. The only other nematode associates of millipedes belong to Rhigonematomorpha and Oxyuridomorpha, two strictly parasitic superorders of nematodes. These nematode identifications represent new geographic and host associations.Millipedes may cause unexpected damage when they are introduced to new locations, becoming invaders that leave behind their old parasites and predators. Therefore, it was interesting to find numerous rhabditid nematodes within the gut of the invasive phytophagous millipede Chamberlinius hualienensis Wang, 1956 (Diplopoda, Paradoxosomatidae) from Hachijojima (Japan) in November, 2014. This millipede originated in Taiwan but was discovered in Japan in 1986. The nematodes were identified as juvenile Oscheius rugaoensis (Zhang et al., 2012) Darsouei et al., 2014 (Rhabditidae), and juvenile and adult Mononchoides sp. (Diplogastridae) based on images, morphometrics, and sequences of 18S and 28S rDNA. A novel short 28S sequence of a separate population of Oscheius necromenus SB218 from Australian millipedes was also included in a phylogenetic comparison of what can now be characterized as a species complex of millipede-associated Oscheius. The only other nematode associates of millipedes belong to Rhigonematomorpha and Oxyuridomorpha, two strictly parasitic superorders of nematodes. These nematode identifications represent new geographic and host associations.
Project description:We studied the distribution of millipedes in a forest interior-forest edge-grassland habitat complex in the Hajdúság Landscape Protection Area (NE Hungary). The habitat types were as follows: (1) lowland oak forest, (2) forest edge with increased ground vegetation and shrub cover, and (3) mesophilous grassland. We collected millipedes by litter and soil sifting. There were overall 30 sifted litter and soil samples: 3 habitat types × 2 replicates × 5 soil and litter samples per habitats. We collected 9 millipede species; the most abundant species was Glomeristetrasticha, which was the most abundant species in the forest edge as well. The most abundant species in the forest interior was Kryphioiulusoccultus, while the most abundant species in the grassland was Megaphyllumunilineatum. Our result showed that the number of millipede species was significantly lower in the grassland than in the forest or in the edge, however there were no significant difference in the number of species between the forest interior and the forest edge. We found significantly the highest number of millipede individuals in the forest edge. There were differences in the composition of the millipede assemblages of the three habitats. The results of the DCCA showed that forest edge and forest interior habitats were clearly separated from the grassland habitats. The forest edge habitat was characterized by high air temperature, high soil moisture, high soil pH, high soil enzyme activity, high shrub cover and low canopy cover. The IndVal and the DCCA methods revealed the following character species of the forest edge habitats: Glomeristetrasticha and Leptoiuluscibdellus. Changes in millipede abundance and composition were highly correlated with the vegetation structure.
Project description:Methane production by intestinal methanogenic Archaea and their community structure were compared among phylogenetic lineages of millipedes. Tropical and temperate millipedes of 35 species and 17 families were investigated. Species that emitted methane were mostly in the juliform orders Julida, Spirobolida, and Spirostreptida. The irregular phylogenetic distribution of methane production correlated with the presence of the methanogen-specific mcrA gene. The study brings the first detailed survey of methanogens' diversity in the digestive tract of millipedes. Sequences related to Methanosarcinales, Methanobacteriales, Methanomicrobiales and some unclassified Archaea were detected using molecular profiling (DGGE). The differences in substrate preferences of the main lineages of methanogenic Archaea found in different millipede orders indicate that the composition of methanogen communities may reflect the differences in available substrates for methanogenesis or the presence of symbiotic protozoa in the digestive tract. We conclude that differences in methane production in the millipede gut reflect differences in the activity and proliferation of intestinal methanogens rather than an absolute inability of some millipede taxa to host methanogens. This inference was supported by the general presence of methanogenic activity in millipede faecal pellets and the presence of the 16S rRNA gene of methanogens in all tested taxa in the two main groups of millipedes, the Helminthophora and the Pentazonia.
Project description:Laboulbeniales are highly specific ectoparasitic fungi of arthropods (insects, millipedes, and arachnids). The first Laboulbeniales parasitizing the millipede order Chordeumatida (Diplopoda) were discovered and described as a new dioecious genus of Laboulbeniales, Thaxterimyces, to accommodate the new species T. baliensis. Also the millipede host is a new species and is described as Metopidiothrix sheari. This is the first time Laboulbeniales fungus and its millipede host are described as new together. Males of Metopidiothrix have the most extensive secondary sexual modifications in the entire class Diplopoda. Although nothing is known about the function of these modifications, the unique pattern of Laboulbeniales infection in the new millipede species is obviously related to host sexual behavior. Rotational Scanning Electron Micrographs (rSEM) are used to create a 3D comprehensive model to examine the fungal-host interaction, a more advanced visualization of the ectoparasitic fungus on its host. Laboulbeniales diversity on millipedes is still understudied, and a consistent effort is needed to unveil and understand the extent and diversity of this biological interaction. Due to their minute size and apparently non-detrimental effect on their hosts, Laboulbeniales in general have been largely ignored by mycologists and neglected by generations of entomologists. As a result a significant component of global biodiversity has been strongly underestimated, and a wealth of new discoveries is still to be made both in the field and in existing museum collections.
Project description:We review the state-of-the-art approaches currently applied in myriapod taxonomy, and we describe, for the first time, a new species of millipede (Ommatoiulus avatar n. sp., family Julidae) using high-resolution X-ray microtomography (microCT) as a substantive adjunct to traditional morphological examination. We present 3D models of the holotype and paratype specimens and discuss the potential of this non-destructive technique in documenting new species of millipedes and other organisms. The microCT data have been uploaded to an open repository (Dryad) to serve as the first actual millipede cybertypes to be published.
Project description:The Abrau Peninsula is located in northwestern Caucasus between the cities of Novorossiysk and Anapa, Krasnodar Province, Russia. This paper contains an annotated checklist of the Chilopoda and Diplopoda inhabiting the Abrau Peninsula.The fauna of the Abrau Peninsula comprises 17 centipede (4 orders) and 16 millipede (6 orders) species. Henia taurica, hitherto known only from the Crimea, has now been reported from several localities in the studied region. The study also reveals two possibly new millipede species. Statistical analyses showed that habitat preferences of myriapod species within the Abrau Peninsula are caused by species geographic distribution pattern and microbiotope preferences.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The ancient and diverse, yet understudied arthropod class Diplopoda, the millipedes, has a muddled taxonomic history. Despite having a cosmopolitan distribution and a number of unique and interesting characteristics, the group has received relatively little attention; interest in millipede systematics is low compared to taxa of comparable diversity. The existing classification of the group comprises 16 orders. Past attempts to reconstruct millipede phylogenies have suffered from a paucity of characters and included too few taxa to confidently resolve relationships and make formal nomenclatural changes. Herein, we reconstruct an ordinal-level phylogeny for the class Diplopoda using the largest character set ever assembled for the group.<h4>Methods</h4>Transcriptomic sequences were obtained from exemplar taxa representing much of the diversity of millipede orders using second-generation (i.e., next-generation or high-throughput) sequencing. These data were subject to rigorous orthology selection and phylogenetic dataset optimization and then used to reconstruct phylogenies employing Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood optimality criteria. Ancestral reconstructions of sperm transfer appendage development (gonopods), presence of lateral defense secretion pores (ozopores), and presence of spinnerets were considered. The timings of major millipede lineage divergence points were estimated.<h4>Results</h4>The resulting phylogeny differed from the existing classifications in a number of fundamental ways. Our phylogeny includes a grouping that has never been described (Juliformia+Merocheta+Stemmiulida), and the ancestral reconstructions suggest caution with respect to using spinnerets as a unifying characteristic for the Nematophora. Our results are shown to have significantly stronger support than previous hypotheses given our data. Our efforts represent the first step toward obtaining a well-supported and robust phylogeny of the Diplopoda that can be used to answer many questions concerning the evolution of this ancient and diverse animal group.
Project description:With an estimated 80% of species remaining undescribed (but see Brewer et al. 2012), millipede taxonomy offers the opportunity to discover new species and explore biodiversity. The lack of basic alpha taxonomic information regarding millipedes belies their significant ecological role and potential as premier models in ecological and evolutionary studies. The group possesses many fascinating biological properties (e.g., bioluminescence, mimicry, and complex chemical secretions) that have been the focus of several recent studies and are emerging avenues of future investigation.Here we summarize a methodology for large-bodied millipede collection, curation, and preservation for genetic analyses with the hope that sharing these techniques will stimulate interest in these charismatic detritivores.
Project description:The Myriapoda, composed of millipedes and centipedes, is a fascinating but poorly understood branch of life, including species with a highly unusual body plan and a range of unique adaptations to their environment. Here, we sequenced and assembled 2 chromosomal-level genomes of the millipedes Helicorthomorpha holstii (assembly size = 182 Mb; shortest scaffold/contig length needed to cover 50% of the genome [N50] = 18.11 Mb mainly on 8 pseudomolecules) and Trigoniulus corallinus (assembly size = 449 Mb, N50 = 26.78 Mb mainly on 17 pseudomolecules). Unique genomic features, patterns of gene regulation, and defence systems in millipedes, not observed in other arthropods, are revealed. Both repeat content and intron size are major contributors to the observed differences in millipede genome size. Tight Hox and the first loose ecdysozoan ParaHox homeobox clusters are identified, and a myriapod-specific genomic rearrangement including Hox3 is also observed. The Argonaute (AGO) proteins for loading small RNAs are duplicated in both millipedes, but unlike in insects, an AGO duplicate has become a pseudogene. Evidence of post-transcriptional modification in small RNAs-including species-specific microRNA arm switching-providing differential gene regulation is also obtained. Millipedes possesses a unique ozadene defensive gland unlike the venomous forcipules found in centipedes. We identify sets of genes associated with the ozadene that play roles in chemical defence as well as antimicrobial activity. Macro-synteny analyses revealed highly conserved genomic blocks between the 2 millipedes and deuterostomes. Collectively, our analyses of millipede genomes reveal that a series of unique adaptations have occurred in this major lineage of arthropod diversity. The 2 high-quality millipede genomes provided here shed new light on the conserved and lineage-specific features of millipedes and centipedes. These findings demonstrate the importance of the consideration of both centipede and millipede genomes-and in particular the reconstruction of the myriapod ancestral situation-for future research to improve understanding of arthropod evolution, and animal evolutionary genomics more widely.