The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change
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The noodle millipedes (Platydesmida) count more than 60 described species and belong to the so called Colobognatha (Platydesmida, Polyzoniida, Siphonocryptida, Siphonophorida), which share more or less reduced mouthparts. Among the Colobognatha, the fungivorous Platydesmida are thought to show the least modified head, which might be an intermediate form between the remaining, suctorial Colobognatha and the biting chewing Eugnatha. Their internal morphology is largely unknown and has only been studied partially for single species. Most of these studies date more than 100 years. Here we study the skeleto-muscular system of several representatives of the group, spanning their morphological diversity, using synchrotron-micro computed tomography (SR-µCT) and 3D reconstruction techniques. Furthermore, we quantify their biting ability based on simulations. We aim to improve our knowledge of the internal morphology and phylogenetic position of the Platydesmida. We are especially interested in the modifications of the head related to their potentially suctorial or slurping feeding mode and fungivory. Furthermore, this study will lay the foundation for a better understanding of the Evolution of suctorial feeding within the Colobognatha.
Alexander Blanke (Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Animal Ecology, University of Bonn, An der Immenburg 1, 53121 Bonn, Germany) Jörg U. Hammel (Institute of Materials Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Gesthacht, Outstation at DESY Building 66, Notkestraße 85, 22607 Hamburg, Germany)