Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mianus Millipede Update

Here's an update about our mysterious millipede found along the Mianus River near Bedford, New York (see post for May 26). It is NOT Pleuroloma flavipes Rafinesque, 1820, as had been suspected, but rather Boraria stricta, a much more common species.

I spoke today with Dr. Rowland M. Shelley, Curator of Terrestrial Invertebrates at the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences. A year ago, when I first posted photos of this yellow-marked millipede, my friend Ellen Rathbone contacted Dr. Shelley about this creature, and he thought it might be that particular Pleuroloma and asked to have me send him a specimen of a male individual, since no specimen from New York existed in any collections.

So this year when I returned to Bedford, I did collect some specimens, although at the time I had no idea how to tell a male from a female. After speaking with Dr. Shelley today, I would know what to look for, but it turns out I won't have to send my specimens anyway. He is quite sure, he told me, that mine are the Boraria species. And in the meantime, one of those Pleuroloma millipedes was discovered in Brooklyn, a long way from where it was last (and first!) reported in Catskill, New York, in 1820. It must have hitched a ride on somebody's transplanted rhododendron.

So, mystery solved. And what a delight to chat with such a passionately-fascinated-by-millipedes man! It is so much fun to talk with enthusiasts about their favorite subject, whatever that subject may be, whether bugs or blooms. Thank you, Dr. Shelley, for our most entertaining and educational conversation. I promise to keep overturning those rocks and logs.


Garden Lily said...

Wow, I just posted a photo of what seems to be the same Boraria stricta, from my garden in Vancouver BC. I don't believe I've seen him before this year, but he is beautiful, and very welcome in my garden.

Ellen Rathbone said...

I'm glad we finally got it ID'd. Pity it wasn't the other one, but even so, it is still a great find in my book. I'm still just turning up the small black millipedes we see in the garden soil.

Look at all the really cool things you've discovered (and interesting people you've met) from blogging!

threecollie said...

I did a search for millipedes because we found a large one. After looking up ones with the Latin name you posted that yours weren't, we did a search and discovered that ours looked like the other kind-Pleuroloma flavipes Rafinesque that you mentioned. Is this of any significance? Or even possible? I posted a couple pics of it anyhow. thanks