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Open Access Spinnerets in the milliped order Polydesmida, and the phylogenetic significance of spinnerets in millipeds (Diplopoda)

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Spinnerets in the milliped order Polydesmida, and the phylogenetic significance of spinnerets in millipeds (Diplopoda)

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Representatives of 23 genera from 18 families of the milliped order Polydesmida were examined using optical and scanning electron microscopy. The fiber-spinning structures reported by Adis et al. (2000) from two pyrgodesmid polydesmidans were found on all specimens studied, though their arrangement and structure differed; a cluster with each of four spinnerets set in contiguous walled depressions was characteristic only of some families of the suborder Polydesmidea. Corresponding structures in some adults of the suborders Leptodesmidea and Paradoxosomatidea appeared nonfunctional and were not set in contiguous walled depressions. Spinnerets of members of the orders Chordeumatida and Callipodida are structurally similar to those of the polydesmidans, but putative spinnerets in the orders Siphoniulida and Stemmiulida show differences. The presence of these spinning organs may be a synapomorphy of polydesmidans and the nematophoran orders, supporting the view that Polydesmida is a member of the "eighth gonopod clade" postulated by Shear, Shelley and Heatwole (2003), and is not close to either Juliformia or Colobognatha.


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