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Keywords:

  • aposematic;
  • biodiversity;
  • Cumberland Mountains;
  • Diplopoda;
  • southeastern US;
  • genitalic evolution;
  • mimicry;
  • molecular phylogeny;
  • taxonomy;
  • Valley and Ridges

The apheloriine millipede genus Brachoria as presented here comprises 34 species distributed throughout the south-eastern US Appalachian Mountains. Members of this genus are blind (like all millipedes in the order Polydesmida), large (4–6 cm in length), and display conspicuous aposematic coloration in yellow, red, orange, and violet. Many Brachoria species participate in Müllerian mimicry rings with co-occurring Apheloriini, in particular with species in the genus Apheloria. Some areas contain five co-mimic species of Apheloriini and a high local density totalling 43 individuals per 50 m2. Since the first revision in 1959, workers have suggested that many more species were awaiting discovery in the Cumberland Mountains. Here I present a taxonomic revision and describe ten new species: Brachoria badbranchensis, Brachoria blackmountainensis, Brachoria campcreekensis, Brachoria cumberlandmountainensis, Brachoria flammipes, Brachoria grapevinensis, Brachoria guntermountainensis, Brachoria hendrixsoni, Brachoria sheari, and Brachoria virginia. Five of these new species occur in the Cumberland Mountain Thrust Block region and five occur elsewhere throughout the Appalachian Highlands in eastern Kentucky, north-eastern Alabama, southern West Virginia, south-western Virginia, and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee. A molecular phylogeny of Brachoria species is well supported at deeper divergences, corresponds closely with geography, and is used as a phylogenetic basis for the taxonomy presented here.

© 2010 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 159, 817–889.