The Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change
is a research museum of the Leibniz Association
Link to Leibniz Association
In this project, two unknown species of giant pill-millipedes will be described from southern Thailand. Giant pill-millipedes are large, charismatic millipedes which can roll into a perfect ball up to the size of a golfball when touched or threatened. These descriptions will be conducted as part of a taxonomic class conducted by a guest researcher from the Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen. We will work integratively, combining and teaching the student in many different modern taxonomic methods, not only theoretically, but practically producing publication-ready results. Among the methods taught is light microscopy, scientific drawings, scanning electron microscopy, CT scans and 3D reconstruction, and especially combining the results into figure plates ready for publication. In addition, molecular work including tissue selection, DNA extraction, PCRs, cleaning of PCR results for DNA sequencing and analysing the raw sequences with different distance and and maximum likelihood methods will be conducted, finishing with the deposition of the sequence data on Genbank. The aim of this project is to describe the two unknown species thoroughly, while learning as many practical taxonomic methods as possible. Currently, just two species of giant pill-milliepdes are known from Thailand, so this study will double the known diversity of the group in the country.
Prof. Dr. Henrik Enghoff (Natural History Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen)