|Project Update: September 2015
From June 2015, six visits of 4 days each have been carried out to the study sites. During these studies, millipede diversity, ecology and distribution have been documented in a disturbed forest (Mbalmayo Forest Reserve- 3°31’N, 11°31’E) and a natural forest (Campo’o Man’an National Park- Dipikar island-2°17’N, 9°57’E). All suitable shelters including those under stones, bark, fallen branches, and layers of leaf litter have been prospected, with specimens preserved in 90% ethanol (Fig. 1).
Overall 252 samples (42 samples/month/ forest x 2 forest types x 3 months) containing 20 species or morphospecies in 10 subfamilies were recorded in those two forest types. Cryptodesmidae was the dominant subfamily with 5 species, followed by Odontopygidae (4 species), Pachybolidae (3 species), Scolopendridae and Spirostreptidae (2 species each). Aporodesmus gabonicus was the most common species (14.81% of occurrences) followed by Centrobolus sp. and Odontopygidae sp.1 (12.96% each).
Fig.1: Collecting small millipedes in sifted litter
Specifically, in disturbed forest, 14 morphospecies belonging to 10 subfamilies were recorded. Amongst these species eight were found only in this forest: Aporodesmus gabonicus, Lithobiomorpha gen. sp., Oxydesmus sp., Centrobolus sp., Paracordyloporus porati, Paradoxosomatidae gen. sp., Urodesmus sp. 1, Spirostreptidae gen. sp. 3. All millipedes and centipedes were collected on or inside of leaf litter (2 – 6 cm) and in the topsoil. Specimens of A. gabonicus were always collected on the first centimeters deep in leaf litter while specimens of Lithobiomorpha gen. sp were only found in the soil (1-2 cm).
Lithobiomorpha gen. sp
In natural forest, 13 morphospecies belonging to seven subfamilies were recorded. Four morphospecies were specific to this forest: Urodesmus sp. 2, Odontopygidae gen sp. 3, Peridontopyge gen. sp. and Thrinculus sp. Like in disturbed forest, most of specimens were found inside of leaf litter (1 – 4 cm) and within the first centimeters of topsoil.
Urodesmus sp. 2
Peridontopyge gen. sp.
Seven species or morphospecies were collected in both disturbed and natural forest: Aporodesmus gabonicus, Lithobiomorpha gen. sp., Odontopygidae gen. sp. 2, Scolopendridae gen. sp., Spirostreptidae gen. sp. 1, Spirostreptidae gen. sp. 3.
Cameroon’s millipede fauna is poorly known yet. Most of the species or morphospecies collected seem to represent new species to be described. Until now, identifications have only been made at the family or genus level with its specific code. Further research is in progress, both in the field and in the lab.