August 31, 2012

Image of the Week: Six New Species of Millipedes Found in Museum Collections

by Christine Hoekenga

Male specimen of new millipede species

A male specimen of Nephopyrgodesmus eungella–one of six new species of millipede found in leaf litter that was sitting on the shelves of two Australian museums. Image Courtesy: Robert Mesibov (CC)

Think you have to organize an expedition to an isolated patch of wilderness or the deepest depths of the sea to find news species?  Not hardly.  This week, scientists described six new species and three new genera of millipedes that were found on the shelves of two Australian museums.  Dr. Robert Mesibov, a millipede specialist at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, discovered the specimens among the “residue” (in this case bags full of leaf litter) from previous collecting expeditions focused mainly on beetles.  Our image of week shows one of the new species.  All six are described–and shown in beautifully creepy photographic detail–in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Find out how scientists classify and name the diversity of life on Earth, in our modules: Taxonomy I and Taxonomy II: Nomenclature.

Read about two new bat species discovered in 2009 among the Smithsonian Institution’s mammal collections and a new dinosaur discovered in 2011 in Natural History Museum of London’s collections.

See the new species of lacewing scientists in California recently found by browsing photos on Flickr.

Christine Hoekenga

Written by

Christine is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist, specializing in science and nature. She holds an Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Media Studies and a Master's of Science Writing. She has been working in science communication and education for nearly a decade as a journalist, an organizer for conservation groups, and a museum educator. Before joining the Visionlearning team, she served as the New Media and Online Community Manager for the Webby award-winning Smithsonian Ocean Portal. Christine is assisting Visionlearning with developing new modules and glossary terms, managing the blog, and outreach through social media.