The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change

is a research museum of the Leibniz Association

Rediscovery of the Golden-Eared Pill-Millipede



Quick facts

Project title: 
Searching for the Golden-Eared Pill-Millipede (Glomeris aurita) - alpine high-altitude endemics
ZFMK Project lead: 
Object of research: 
Myriapoda, Saftkugler, Millipedes


Searching for the Golden-Eared Pill-Millipede (Glomeris aurita) - alpine high-altitude endemics

Already in 2011 came a large collection of pill millipedes (order Glomerida), collected by the spider expert Dr. Axel Schönhofer, into our possession. This collection included an unusual species from northern Italy, collected from alpine meadows, an unusual habitat for millipedes which are usually found in forests. This pill millipede looked very similar to the Golden-Eared Pill-Millipede (Glomeris aurita Koch, 1847), a species only known from its first description more than 150 years ago! Unfortunately were the 2011 specimens too old for the extraction of DNA, a neccessity for a separation of our specimens from the numerous other pill millipedes living in northern Italy, of which our specimens could represent a high-altitude colour variety.

The aim of this project is to collect fresh specimens in the islolated Mountains around Bergamo, with the help of Dr. Marco Valle fron the Natural History Museum "E. Caffi" in Bergamo. Only with these fresh samples, a modern, integrative redescription of the Golden-Eared Pill-Millipede will be possible. Furthermore, the evolutionary history of these high-altitude endemics will be elucidated. These endemics survived the last ice age not in warm valleys, but on isolated mountaintops sticking out of the iceshield.


Contact person

Head of Section Myriapoda
Responsible Editor Bonn zoological Bulletin - Supplementum
+49 228 9122-425
+49 228 9122-212
t.wesener [at]