Physical Description

Type Information

Neotype for Julus ornatus Girard
Catalog Number: USNM
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Ethanol
Collector(s): J. Reddell
Year Collected: 1967
Locality: Palo duro State Park; randall Co.; Tex, Randall, Texas, United States
  • Neotype:
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Holotype for Orthoporus arizonicus Loomis
Catalog Number: USNM
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology
Preparation: Ethanol
Collector(s): R. Peebles
Year Collected: 1949
Locality: Patagonia; Ariz, Arizona, United States
  • Holotype:
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Holotype for Orthoporus producens Chamberlin, 1947
Catalog Number: USNM
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology
Sex/Stage: Female;
Preparation: Ethanol
Collector(s): V. Shelford
Year Collected: 1944
Locality: Arizona: benson yucca grassland, Arizona, United States
  • Holotype:
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Paratype for Orthoporus crotonus Chamberlin, 1952
Catalog Number: USNM
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology
Sex/Stage: Female;
Preparation: Ethanol
Collector(s): Schmidt
Year Collected: 1937
Locality: Croton Spr., north of chinos Mts.; Brewster Co.; Tex, Brewster, Texas, United States
  • Paratype:
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Holotype for Orthoporus entomacis Chamberlin & Mulaik, 1941
Catalog Number: USNM
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Entomology
Sex/Stage: Male;
Preparation: Ethanol
Collector(s): D. Mulaik & S. Mulaik
Year Collected: 1939
Locality: Duncan, Arizona, Arizona, United States
  • Holotype:
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Wikipedia

Orthoporus ornatus

Orthoporus ornatus (also known as the desert millipede) is a North American species of millipede in the family Spirostreptidae that can be found in the U.S. states of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and as far south as the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí.[1] Individuals on average are 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in length,[2] but can either be as small as 3 inches (76 mm),[3] and exceed up to 6 inches (150 mm) in length. They are dark brownish coloured,[4] but can sometimes be yellow too. In fact, in every state the species look different.[5] The antennae are located near the organs of Tömösváry. The species feed on both living and dead organic material. The species prefer sunshine, but can be seen on summer rainy days as well. A disturbed Orthoporus ornatus may curl into a coil and release a toxic substance, that is located on all sides of its body. The species can live more than 10 years[6] The species feed on shrubs of Ephedra, which grows in Jornada del Muerto, and on Salsola that grows in Albuquerque.[7]

Classification[edit]

The class of this organism is Diploda and this group is a diverse group of Arthopotheda or Arthopods. [8] An Arthopod can be referred to as an invertebrate that has an exoskeleton, a segmented body and jointed appendages. It can also be put into a group called Edaphic Organisms since it spends most of its time in the soil. [9] Edaphic means pertaining to the soil.

Description[edit]

The desert millipede is small, long, has lots of legs and body segments. The head, which is the first body segment, has an organ called the Tomosvary organ. This is a sensory organ; it is located at the base of the antennae. For every body segment there are two pairs of legs. An interesting fact is that it sheds after every time it adds a new body segment. [10]

Range[edit]

The desert millipede cannot be found around the world. It lives in the Sonoran desert. More specifically, it was once found in the eastern city limits of phoenix, Arizona and the Papago Park in phoenix. In general, this millipede lives in a Desert Ecosystem where there are lots of rocks, shrubs, damp soil and other tree trunks. [11] In one study the desert millipede was also found in Albuquerque, New Mexico. [12]

Habitat[edit]

The Orthoporus ornatus enjoys staying in the deep damp soil of a desert ecosystem. The thought of an organism living underground might sound a bit unrealistic. However, the soil is full of honey-comb channels and voids.[13] Also, not only is the soil full of this millipede’s main food source it also works as protection. Staying underground provides for a safe refuge of any harmful biotic or abiotic events, for example protection from solar ultraviolet radiation. [14]

Behavior[edit]

This is a mellow slow-moving organism that enjoys feeding on decaying materials. It is mostly nocturnal; however, it can be spotted after rainy days in the early mornings. It spends most of its time in self-dug burrows. [15] It will emerge from the soil only when the soil is moist. Once the soil is dried up from the desert sun it will go back into the deep soil. [16] Through studies, it was said that movement was at its peak during the early mornings with some nocturnal activity as well. Soil-surface activity stopped before the surface temperate reached 35 degrees Celsius and began again when the ground resumed to 35 degrees Celsius. In the meantime, the millipede went from burrow to burrow. It was found under rocks and sometimes to aerial proportions of shrubs. Interestingly, when it was found on shrubs the air temperature was 35.5 degree Celsius. [17]

Feeding[edit]

The desert millipede is not quite picky when it comes to feeding. Its main food source is bacteria, which thrives in the damp soil that it lives around. [18] It will feed on dead plant material and tissues of dead shrubs. Some shrubs it was found eating of off was the cholla, creosote bush, ocotillo. It was also found eating some surface litter and bark of “morman tea” and mesquite. It will also eat tiny pieces of sand, rock and other inverabrae animals (arthopods). It cannot eat in the absence of moist soil. [19]

Ecology[edit]

The millipede has certain defenses against its predators, however vertebrates find preying on this organism is well worth it. Vertebrates are usually the type of animal that feeds on the desert millipede. There are about thirteen species that have been observed to feel on millipedes. [20]

Interactions with Humans[edit]

The desert millipede is a very simple creature that will keep to itself unless bothered or feels threatened. It will curl up into a ball, or coil, when it is disturbed. Sometime it may even release a noxious substance out from the side of its body, [21] or more specifically, through glands that are on top of its legs. This liquid smells and tastes bad. It is toxic to anything that might eat it. [22] This liquid can irritate skin of a human and will definitely irritate the eyes. [23] The Orthoporus ornatus can be seen as a beneficial and useful interesting part of the desert ecosystem. Because the desert is such a dry place, dead plants and animals take an extra long time to fully decay. (This is why lots of historical ruins and archeological sites are in the southwest areas.) The milliepede will eat on these decaying matters and “Clean up” their environment. If these small organisms did no longer exist the desert would overpopulate with dead plants, dead animals and bacteria.[24] Its species life span can range up to 10 years. [25]


References[edit]

  1. ^ Hoffman, R. L. 1999. Checklist of the Millipeds of North and Middle America. Virginia Museum of Natural History Special Publications, 8, p. 125-126.
  2. ^ "Description of dead Orthoporus ornatus". Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Desert millipede size". Bugs In Cyberspace. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Deseret Millipede (Orthoporus ornatus)". Petroglyph National Monument. Retrieved November 27, 2012. 
  5. ^ F. S. Nunez & C. S. Crawford (1977). "Anatomy and histology of the alimentary tract of the desert millipede Orthoporus ornatus (Girard) (Diplopoda: Spirostreptidae)". Journal of Morphology 151 (1): 121–130. doi:10.1002/jmor.1051510107. 
  6. ^ "Description and habitat". Arizona Wildlife. August 10, 2008. Archived from the original on October 23, 2008. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ R. C. Wooten, Jr., C. S. Crawford & W. A. Riddle (1975). "Behavioural thermoregulation of Orthoporus ornatus (Diplopoda: Spirostreptidae) in three desert habitats". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 57 (1): 59–74. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.1975.tb01890.x. 
  8. ^ "Desert Millipede (Orthoporus Ornatus)." Arizona Wildlife. 10 Aug. 2008. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <https://web.archive.org/web/20081023061614/http://www.arizonawildlife.org/Articles.php?action=detail&g=content1218389671>
  9. ^ Vilani, M G, L L Allee, A. Diaz, and P S Robbins. "Adaptive Strategies of Edahic Arthropods." Proquest. Annual Review of Entomology, 1 Jan. 1999. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
  10. ^ "Desert Millipede (Orthoporus Ornatus)." Arizona Wildlife. 10 Aug. 2008. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <https://web.archive.org/web/20081023061614/http://www.arizonawildlife.org/Articles.php?action=detail&g=content1218389671>
  11. ^ Prendergast, Katie. "Biodiversity in Arizona." Proquest. Natural History, 1 June 1998. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
  12. ^ Wooten, Jr., R C, and C S Crawford. "Food Ingestian Rates and Assimilation in the Desert Millipede." Department of Biology, The University of New Mexico, 19 Mar. 1975. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
  13. ^ Vilani, M G, L L Allee, A. Diaz, and P S Robbins. "Adaptive Strategies of Edahic Arthropods." Proquest. Annual Review of Entomology, 1 Jan. 1999. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
  14. ^ Vilani, M G, L L Allee, A. Diaz, and P S Robbins. "Adaptive Strategies of Edahic Arthropods." Proquest. Annual Review of Entomology, 1 Jan. 1999. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
  15. ^ "Desert Millipede (Orthoporus Ornatus)." Arizona Wildlife. 10 Aug. 2008. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <https://web.archive.org/web/20081023061614/http://www.arizonawildlife.org/Articles.php?action=detail&g=content1218389671>
  16. ^ Prendergast, Katie. "Biodiversity in Arizona." Proquest. Natural History, 1 June 1998. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
  17. ^ Wooten, Jr., R C, C S Crawford, and W A Riddle. "Behavioural Thermoregulation of Orthoporus Ornatus." Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 28 June 2008. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
  18. ^ Prendergast, Katie. "Biodiversity in Arizona." Proquest. Natural History, 1 June 1998. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
  19. ^ Wooten, Jr., R C, and C S Crawford. "Food Ingestian Rates and Assimilation in the Desert Millipede." Department of Biology, The University of New Mexico, 19 Mar. 1975. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
  20. ^ Forthman, Michael, and Christiane Weirauch. "Toxic Associations: A Review of the Predatory Behaviors of Millipede Assassin Bugs." Proquest. European Journal of Entomology, 5 Apr. 2012. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.
  21. ^ "Desert Millipede (Orthoporus Ornatus)." Arizona Wildlife. 10 Aug. 2008. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <https://web.archive.org/web/20081023061614/http://www.arizonawildlife.org/Articles.php?action=detail&g=content1218389671>
  22. ^ United States. National Park Service. "Millipedes." National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://www.nps.gov/petr/naturescience/millipede.htm>.
  23. ^ "Desert Millipede (Orthoporus Ornatus)." Arizona Wildlife. 10 Aug. 2008. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <https://web.archive.org/web/20081023061614/http://www.arizonawildlife.org/Articles.php?action=detail&g=content1218389671>
  24. ^ United States. National Park Service. "Millipedes." National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://www.nps.gov/petr/naturescience/millipede.htm>.
  25. ^ "Desert Millipede (Orthoporus Ornatus)." Arizona Wildlife. 10 Aug. 2008. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <https://web.archive.org/web/20081023061614/http://www.arizonawildlife.org/Articles.php?action=detail&g=content1218389671>

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