This section contains a set of tables for the verification of millipede specimens that have been identified to order using the Millipede Identification Key on this website. This section also aids in further identification of millipede specimens.
Table 1 lists key characters for each millipede order. Table 2 contains the geographic distribution for each order. Your identified specimen should show the characters listed in Table 1 for that order and should be found in the corresponding geographic region listed in Table 2. Any discrepancy may indicate a problem with the identification. However, it is also possible for a correctly identified specimen to occur in a region from which no other representative of that order had previously been collected. For example, the order Platydesmida was recorded from Taiwan for the first time just a few years ago.
Table 3 presents a list of all currently valid millipede families and their geographic distribution. For example, if you identified a specimen from southern Africa as belonging to the order Polydesmida, you can look up in Table 3 which polydesmid families have been recorded in southern Africa to date. This information will narrow down the number of families you have to look up to identify your specimen further. You should keep in mind that you may very well have a specimen of a family that has never been reported to occur in southern Africa. It may have been imported by human activities and established thriving populations quite recently. Or, alternatively, the family of this particular species has lived in southern Africa for a very long time, but nobody ever identified it before and thus, the occurrence of members of this particular family in southern Africa may be new to science!