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Millipedes tend to have a near random dispersion pattern when surface active. Only in a few species do juvenile stadia form dense swarms. This study describes the occurrence and composition of aggregations in an adult population of the tropical spirostreptid millipede Alloporus uncinatus (Attems) inhabiting riparian forest in Zimbabwe. Also presented are the results of a field experiment designed to induce aggregation behaviour in a separate population with the addition of high quality food to the habitat.

Our initial hypothesis that the natural aggregations of between six and 42 individuals observed during the period of surface activity were part of the mating system in this species was refuted. Few mature males were present in aggregates and less than 1%, of copula pairs sampled were taken from aggregates. The composition of aggregates and the results of the experiment suggest that aggregations are associated with the feeding activities of immature individuals and are not related to reproductive activity. We suggest that the aggregations observed in A. uncinatus, although related, may perform different functions to the swarming behaviours observed in other millipede species.