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Open Access Character changes during the early post-embryonic development of the centipede Strigamia maritima (Leach, 1817) (Chilopoda: Geophilomorpha)

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Character changes during the early post-embryonic development of the centipede Strigamia maritima (Leach, 1817) (Chilopoda: Geophilomorpha)

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image of International Journal of Myriapodology

For many kinds of ecological, evolutionary and developmental study, it is important to be able to describe the life-history of the individuals of a particular species/population. In the case of myriapods and other arthropods, this involves separating the different life-history stages (or stadia or instars) that are separated by moults. However, it has recently been pointed out that in the earliest post-embryonic stages the cuticle is still quite flexible; this means that visible external developmental changes can occur between moults as well as during them. Here, we provide evidence for such inter-moult changes in the coastal geophilomorph centipede Strigamia maritima. The character states studied enable finer-scale resolution of early post-embryonic forms than was hitherto possible. Specifically, we describe five transitional forms during a period in which just two (Peripatoid and Foetus) have traditionally been recognized.


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