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Open Access Revision of the endemic giant fire millipedes of Madagascar, genus Aphistogoniulus (Diplopoda: Spirobolida: Pachybolidae)

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Revision of the endemic giant fire millipedes of Madagascar, genus Aphistogoniulus (Diplopoda: Spirobolida: Pachybolidae)

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The Malagasy fire millipede genus Aphistogoniulus (Silvestri, 1897) is revised. All previously described species, A. cowani (Butler, 1882), A. erythrocephalus (Pocock, 1893), A. hova (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1897), A. corallipes (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1902), A. sakalava (de Saussure & Zehntner, 1897), are redescribed. Four new synonyms are confirmed: Aphistogoniulus sanguinemaculatus (Silvestri, 1897) new synonym of A. cowani, A. quadridentatus (Attems, 1910) new synonym of A. erythrocephalus, A. polleni Jeekel, 1971 and A. brolemanni Jeekel, 1971 new synonyms of A. hova. Scanning electron microscopy is utilized to investigate the sexual differences on the antenna, mandible and gnathochilarium in A. cowani. The intraspecific variation of the taxonomic characters within and between different populations of A. erythrocephalus (Pocock, 1893) is examined. Five new species (A. sanguineus Wesener, n. sp., A. infernalis Wesener, n. sp., A. diabolicus Wesener, n. sp., A. aridus Wesener, n. sp., A. vampyrus Wesener, n. sp.) are described, including the first records of the genus from the Malagasy spiny forest and azonal Western deciduous forest ecosystem. A key to Aphistogoniulus species is provided.


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