Thursday, June 30, 2016

[Invertebrate • 2016] A Taxonomic Review of the Centipede Genus Scolopendra Linnaeus, 1758 (Scolopendromorpha, Scolopendridae) in mainland Southeast Asia, with Description of A New Species, Scolopendra cataracta

 Habitus photographs of Scolopendra species:

Figure 42. Scolopendra cataract (Champasak, Laos, holotype CUMZ 00316)  
Scolopendra pinguis (Colour morph 2B) Scolopendra dawydoffi (CUMZ 00272).

Figure 9. A Scolopendra subspinipes (Singapore, CUMZ 00315) 
B Scolopendra calcarata (Thailand, CUMZ 00418) C Scolopendra japonica (Colour morph 2: Laos, CUMZ 00298).  DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.590.7950


The centipede genus Scolopendra in mainland Southeast Asia is reviewed taxonomically based on morphological characters, informed by a molecular phylogenetic analysis using sequences from three mitochondrial and nuclear genes (COI, 16S rRNA and 28S rRNA). Eight nominal species of Scolopendra, namely S. morsitans Linnaeus, 1758, S. subspinipes Leach, 1816, S. dehaani Brandt, 1840, S. multidens Newport, 1844, S. calcarata Porat, 1876, S. japonica Koch, 1878, S. pinguis Pocock, 1891, and Sdawydoffi Kronmüller, 2012, are redescribed together with some revision of type materials. Geographical variation in each species has been compiled with reference to samples that span their distribution ranges in Southeast Asia and some parts of neighbouring areas such as East Asia, the Indian Ocean, and Africa. Comparative study of traditional taxonomic characters from external morphology provides further information to distinguish some closely related species. Scolopendra cataracta Siriwut, Edgecombe & Panha, sp. n., is described from the southern part of Laos, with additional records in Thailand and Vietnam. The phylogenetic framework for Southeast Asian Scolopendra recognizes S. calcarata S. pinguisS. morsitans, and a S. subspinipes group that unites the other six species as the main clades. Within the S. subspinipes group, two monophyletic groups can be distinguished by having either slender or short, thick ultimate leg prefemora and different numbers of apical spines on the coxopleuron. Scolopendra arborea Lewis, 1982, is placed in subjective synonymy with S. dehaani. A survey of external morphology of the genital segments confirms its potential for improving species identification in Scolopendra. Some observations on biology and behaviour are recorded based on field surveys in this area.

Keywords: Chilopoda, Scolopendra, systematics, distribution, phylogeny, species diversity

Scolopendra cataracta Siriwut, Edgecombe & Panha, sp. n.

Type locality: Tad E-tu Waterfall, Bolaven Plateau, Pakse, Champasak, Laos (15°13'10.6"N, 105°55'31.3"E) (Fig. 54B).

EtymologyFrom “cataract”, meaning waterfall, for the type locality at Tad E-tu Waterfall.

Diagnosis18–19 antennal articles, 6 basal articles glabrous dorsally. Cephalic plate punctate. 5–6 teeth on tooth-plate. Tergites 7(14)-20 with paramedian sutures, all incomplete, present only on anterior and posterior parts. Tergite of ultimate leg-bearing segment without depression or suture. Paramedian sutures confined to anterior 15–20% of sternites. Coxopleural process with 1–3 apical+subapical spines, 0–1 dorsal spine, without lateral spine. Ultimate leg prefemora with 1–2 VL, 1–2 M, 0–2 DM and prefemoral process with 1–3 spines. Tarsal spur on legs 1–19(20).

RemarksThe paratype collected in Thailand in 2001 (NHMUK 010305528) was observed to display apparent amphibious habits. The following account is based on observations by G. Beccaloni (pers. comm., Jan. 2016). The centipede was initially observed under a rock slab beside a stream ca. 1.5 m wide and 20 cm deep. It escaped into the stream and concealed itself under a rock. After extraction from the stream it was placed in a glass container of water, in which it swam powerfully on the bottom of the container with vigorous horizontal undulating motions.

DistributionAll localities are in mainland territory. The currently known distribution (Fig. 29) is as follows: Southeast Asia: Laos (Champasak and Luang Namtha), Thailand (Surat Thani) and Vietnam (Bac Kan and Dac-To).

Figure 19. Colouration changes and patterns during developmental stages of Scolopendra dehaani:
Juvenile stage Sub-adult stage Adult stage (specimen from northern Thailand).  

Figure 20. Brooding and feeding behaviours: Scolopendra dehaani exhibiting simple coiling with cluster of embryonic stadia (photograph by Natdanai Likhitrakarn) Scolopendra morsitans exhibiting double coiling with post-embryonic stadia CScolopendra dehaani preying on snail-eating snake Pareas carinatus Flexibility of trunk segments during predation.

Warut Siriwut, Gregory D. Edgecombe, Chirasak Sutcharit, Piyoros Tongkerd and Somsak Panha. 2016. A Taxonomic Review of the Centipede Genus Scolopendra Linnaeus, 1758 (Scolopendromorpha, Scolopendridae) in mainland Southeast Asia, with Description of A New Species from Laos. ZooKeys.  590: 1-124. DOI:  10.3897/zookeys.590.7950

'Horrific' First Amphibious Centipede Discovered via @NatGeo