n African Entomology - A contribution on the South African millipede genus, Verhoeff, 1939 (Siphonophorida : Siphonorhinidae)




The siphonorhinid diplopod genus Verhoeff, 1939, the only African representative of the order Siphonophorida, occupies disjunct areas in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga provinces, South Africa, primarily in the Drakensberg Range; it may also occur in the detached part of Eastern Cape Province and the countries of Lesotho and Swaziland. The millipedes are pallid and thread-like, ≤ 0.5 mm wide, and exhibit the elbowed antennae that are diagnostic for the family; they closely resemble sympatric individuals of the polyzoniidan genus Attems, 1926, which have short, sublinear antennae. Two species have been described, Verhoeff, 1939, the type species, and Verhoeff, 1940, and the latter is provisionally placed in synonymy under the former based on the proximity of the type localities and segmentation variation in the available specimens. The gonopods of a male syntype of are illustrated for the first time. Beyond characterizing the species, the gonopod structure suggests that a divided ultimate podomere of the posterior gonopod into two or more terminal branches may be diagnostic for the Siphonorhinidae in addition to the subtriangular head and elbowed antennae.


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