Morphology and phylogeny of Dicellophilus, a centipede genus with a highly disjunct distribution (Chilopoda: Mecistocephalidae)




The centipede genus Dicellophilus Cook, 1896 (Chilopoda: Geophilomorpha: Mecistocephalidae) has been revised by means of a comparative examination of representative specimens of all the species: morphological variation has been documented by means of both light and scanning electronic microscopy, the geographical distribution has been reassessed and updated based on published and new records, and the phyletic relations between the species have been analysed based on morphological evidence. Dicellophilus is confirmed as a highly distinct lineage, supported by synapomorphies in the labrum and in the pattern of coxal organs. Four species are morphologically recognized, each of them occurring in one of three limited, highly disjunct areas in a restricted boreal temperate belt: Dicellophilus carniolensis (C.L. Koch, 1847) is limited to central Europe (central–eastern Alps, Dinarids, Carpathians, and Dobrogea), Dicellophilus pulcher (Kishida, 1928) occurs in Japan (Honshu), and Dicellophilus anomalus (Chamberlin, 1904) and Dicellophilus limatus (Wood, 1862) both occur in the south-western part of North America (California and Oregon). High support has been found for the following phyletic relationships: (D. carniolensis (D. pulcher (D. anomalus + D. limatus))). Dicellophilus carniolensis is strongly distinct in some autapomorphic traits, including enlarged clypeus and fewer mandibular lamellae, whereas the sister species D. anomalus and D. limatus share some derived features, including an elongated head and associated appendages, longer antennal setae, and stronger forcipular tubercles. The peculiar geographical distribution of Dicellophilus and the historical scenario suggested by the phylogeny are very unusual in respect to the biogeographical patterns known in all other major groups of terrestrial animals.

© 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 158, 501–532.