A vast number of the species on our planet remain undiscovered. Biological specimen collections play a pivotal role in the discovery and description of new species. Such collections have maintained identified material of the known fauna and flora for more than two centuries. Furthermore, at least a good portion of the unknown flora and fauna can be found in the unsorted and unidentified backlog of specimen collections. For many taxonomically neglected groups, such as the Myriapoda (centipedes, millipedes, pauropods and symphylans), we do not even know where such useful specimen collections might be located. In 1972, the 2nd International Congress of Myriapodology recommended "that myriapodologists throughout the world…bring together the information needed for a world-list of collections in this field" (Kraus, 1974).
The following tables represent a catalog of the millipede collections of the world. The collections data were generated by sending questionnaires to well over 1,000 biological collection institutions in 143 countries. We identified 268 biological collection institutions harboring millipede collections in 54 countries. There are also several private collections, but we were unable to capture significant data on those. Most collections listed here as harboring millipede collections also house specimens of the remaining three myriapod groups, the centipedes, pauropods and symphylans, and accordingly, this catalog will be of use for researchers of these groups as well. Although the catalog focuses on collections of extant millipede material, a preliminary list of 43 collections containing fossil millipedes is included in the printed catalog.
The following tables are available as downloadable PDF files:
Collections Table 1
Table 1 lists the 268 collections harboring millipede collections. Type holdings and approximate size of each collection (in number of specimen lots) are indicated. The catalog (see citation and original publication below) lists mailing addresses, name(s) of curatorial staff and e-mail addresses if available. Of the 268 millipede collections, 9 collections house more than 20,000 specimen lots, 77 contain more than 1,000 specimen lots.
Collections Table 2
Table 2 lists millipede species authors and the collections (by acronym) that house type material by that particular author. Type material was reported from 89 collections, with six collections harboring more than 1,000 type lots each. More than 21,400 type lots (including all type categories) were reported by the collections. Table 2 is certainly not complete. The data for this table were assembled from the returned questionnaires. The original taxonomic literature was not consulted. In some cases, the listed institutions may not actually house the type material of the author, but rather the voucher material.
Petra Sierwald and Abigail Julia Reft. 2004. The Millipede Collections of the World. Fieldiana, Zoology, New Series No. 103 (1532). 100 pages.
Updates to the list of millipede collections are available here.
Milli-PEET: Millipede Collections