Dichromatobolus, a new genus of spirobolidan millipedes from Madagascar (Spirobolida, Pachybolidae)

  • Thomas Wesener
Keywords: biodiversity, Mahafaly Plateau, spiny forest, sexual color dimorphism, soil arthropod


A new genus, Dichromatobolus gen. nov., belonging to the genus-rich mainly southern hemisphere family Pachybolidae of the order Spirobolida, is described based on D. elephantulus gen. et sp. nov., illustrated with color pictures, line drawings, and scanning electron micrographs. The species is recorded from the spiny bush of southwestern Madagascar. Dichromatobolus elephantulus gen. et sp. nov. shows an unusual color pattern, sexual dichromatism with males being red with black legs and females being grey. Males seem to be more surface active, as mainly males were collected with pitfall traps. Females mainly come from the pet trade. The body of this species is short and very wide, being only 8 times longer than wide in the males. Live observations show the species is a very slow mover, digging in loose soil almost as fast as walking on the surface. The posterior gonopods of Dichromatobolus gen. nov. are unusually simple and well-rounded, displaying some similarities to the genera Corallobolus Wesener, 2009 and Granitobolus Wesener, 2009, from which the new genus differs in numerous other characters, e.g., size, anterior gonopods and habitus. Despite several attempts with fresh tissue samples and different primers, molecular barcoding did not work for Dichromatobolus gen. nov. Any relationships to the other 15 genera of Pachybolidae indigenous to Madagascar remain unknown.

Author Biography

Thomas Wesener

Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK), Leibniz Institute for Animal Biodiversity, Adenauerallee 160, D-53113, Bonn, Germany.


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How to Cite
Wesener, T. (2020). Dichromatobolus, a new genus of spirobolidan millipedes from Madagascar (Spirobolida, Pachybolidae). European Journal of Taxonomy, 720(1), 107-120. https://doi.org/10.5852/ejt.2020.720.1119
Research article