Arthropod Phylogeny, Evolution and Biogeography

Systematics, Biogeography, and Evolution of centipedes (Myriapoda, Chilopoda)

Socloopendra morsitans
Soclopendra morsitans (Scolopendromorpha, Scolopendridae) from the Todgha Gorges in Morocco

Centipedes are one of the most important soil predators inhabiting all sorts of terrestrial environments in all continents except Antarctica. The group recognizes five main lineages or orders: Scutigeromorpha, Lithobiomorpha, Craterostigmomorpha, Scolopendromorpha, and Geophilomorpha.

Greg Edgecombe from The Natural History Museum (London) has dedicated major resources to study the taxonomy and systematics of several groups of centipedes, especially Scutigeromorpha, Lithobiomorpha, Craterostigmomorpha and Scolopendromorpha.

Gonzalo Giribet's primary interest in centipedes, also shared with Edgecombe, are the phylogeny and biogeography of centipedes. Both laboratories at The Natural History Museum and the Museum of Comparative Zoology have established a fruitful collaboration in centipede research in an integrated way using morphological and molecular information.

Varpu Vahtera holds a postdoctoral Fellowship from the Academy of Finland to work on scolopendromorph systematics and biogeography. She received her PhD from the University of Helsinki and the Finnish Museum of Natural History.

Jerome Murienne is a Marie Curie postdoctoral Fellow working on different aspects of arthropod and onychophoran phylogeny and biogeography and he is currently addressing questions of the deep phylogeny of centipedes.

In collaboration with Bob Mesibov (Tasmania) and graduate srtudent Sebastián Vélez we are investigating the phylogeographic patterns of the Tasmanian Craterostigmus tasmanianus. Craterostigmomorpha is an order of centipedes with two described species, including the one described for New Zealand by Greg Edgecombe and Gonzalo Giribet in 2008.

Craterostigmus crabilli