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Open Access Field observations on three scolopendrid centipedes from Mauritius and Rodrigues (Indian Ocean) (Chilopoda: Scolopendromorpha)

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Field observations on three scolopendrid centipedes from Mauritius and Rodrigues (Indian Ocean) (Chilopoda: Scolopendromorpha)

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image of International Journal of Myriapodology

Biological observations on three species of Scolopendra (S. morsitans L., 1758; S. subspinipes Leach, 1815; S. abnormis Lewis & Daszak, 1996) were made in the field on Mauritius and Rodrigues and satellite islands. Data on behaviour, predators, parasites, food and the effect of bites are presented here. Remarks on colour variation are given. Scolopendra abnormis is confined to Round Island and Serpent Island. It showed no ritualised meeting reactions and cannot swim as do some other species and did not run off when exposed. The differences between the populations of this species on the two islands are discussed, as are its conservation prospects (it is classified as vulnerable). The large specimens of Scolopendra on Rodrigues will kill and feed on day old chicks and are attracted to strong smelling fish. A case of a centipede feeding on a baby is reported. Centipedes form the main diet of feral cats on the Rodrigues Île Frégate. The origin of the Scolopendra fauna of the islands is discussed and it is suggested that the introduction of the musk shrew [Suncus murinus (L., 1766)] may be responsible for the precipitous decline in the population of large centipedes on Rodrigues.


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