Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




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Compiler and date details

28 October 2010 - Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and School of Zoology, University of Tasmania. Launceston, Tasmania, Australia

28 April 2002 - Robert Mesibov, Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia


Diplopoda, commonly known as millipedes, are long, thin arthropods with two pairs of legs on most posterior body segments. They feed largely on decaying plant material. Millipedes are sometimes confused with centipedes, which never have more than one pair of legs per body segment and are typically predators.

Although millipedes are common and familiar animals in Australia, they are remarkably little-studied. Of a fauna of perhaps 2000 species, fewer than 400 native Australian millipedes have so far been described. Undoubtedly, a large number of species are yet to be described (see Mesibov 2012).

Higher-level taxonomy in this checklist follows Shelley (2003) with some minor recent additions. Genus- and species-level taxonomy follows the online Millipedes of Australia (see External Link), which has bibliographic synonymies with annotations, details of all known types and distribution maps for all described native species.

Introductory texts in the checklist include brief descriptive or diagnostic notes where appropriate. However, millipede taxonomy is based on microscopic details of structure and is difficult for non-specialists to understand without illustrations and an explanation of anatomical jargon. Checklist users should consult Harvey & Yen (1989) for a simply illustrated guide to the millipede orders in Australia. The best general text on non-taxonomic aspects of Diplopoda is Hopkin & Read (1992).

Only primary types are noted in this checklist. Many of the specimens categorised here as 'whereabouts unknown' may, in fact, be well curated in museums overseas, and should not be thought of as lost. Syntype locations are given where known, but in many cases (especially for species decribed by K.W. Verhoeff) there may be additional syntypes in other, unpublished locations. For more details, see the Millipedes of Australia website.

AcknowledgementsFor advice and assistance, the compiler is grateful to Geoff Baker (CSIRO Entomology, Canberra), Dennis Black (La Trobe University, Wodonga), Claudia Brockmann (Zoologisches Museum, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany), Kaye Dimmack (Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania), Monique Nguyen Duy-Jacquemin (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France), Greg Edgecombe (Natural History Museum, London, UK), Henrik Enghoff (Zoologisk Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark), Sergei Golovatch (Institute for Problems of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow), Richard Hoffman (Virginia Museum of Natural History, Martinsville, Virginia, USA), C.A.W. Jeekel (Oisterwijk, Netherlands), Graham Milledge (Australian Museum, Sydney), Zoltán Korsós (Hungarian Natural History Museum, Budapest, Hungary), Helen Read (Farnham Common, UK), Hans Reip (Jena, Germany) and William Shear (Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, Virginia, USA). Technical advice and encouragement for the original 2002 version of this checklist was patiently provided by Keith Houston, ABRS Environment Australia. Compilation of this work was assisted by funds from ABRS.

Limital AreaDistribution data in the Directory is by political and geographic region descriptors and serves as a guide to the distribution of a taxon. For details of a taxon's distribution, the reader should consult the cited references (if any) at genus and species levels.

Australia is defined as including Lord Howe Is., Norfolk Is., Cocos (Keeling) Ils, Christmas Is., Ashmore and Cartier Ils, Macquarie Is., Australian Antarctic Territory, Heard and McDonald Ils, and the waters associated with these land areas of Australian political responsibility. Political areas include the adjacent waters.

Terrestrial geographical terms are based on the drainage systems of continental Australia, while marine terms are self explanatory except as follows: the boundary between the coastal and oceanic zones is the 200 m contour; the Arafura Sea extends from Cape York to 124°E; and the boundary between the Tasman and Coral Seas is considered to be the latitude of Fraser Island, also regarded as the southern terminus of the Great Barrier Reef.

Distribution records, if any, outside of these areas are listed as extralimital. The distribution descriptors for each species are collated to genus level. Users are advised that extralimital distribution for some taxa may not be complete.

A simple pictorial "Key to orders of Australian Millipedes" is provied on the "Millipedes of Australia" website at


Excluded Taxa


POLYXENIDAE: Monographis schultzei Attems, 1909 — Duy-Jacquemin, M.N. & Condé, B. 1967. Morphologie et géonémie du genre Monographis Attems. Mitteilungen aus dem Hamburgischen Zoologischen Museum und Institut ns 64: 43-81 [Date published June 1967] [68]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
08-Oct-2015 DIPLOPODA 24-Nov-2015 MODIFIED
05-Mar-2012 24-Sep-2015 MODIFIED
28-Oct-2010 08-Oct-2015 MODIFIED
08-Oct-2015 MODIFIED