Navigation Links
Discovery of new cave millipedes casts light on Arizona cave ecology

A new genus of millipede was recently discovered by a Northern Arizona University doctoral student and a Bureau of Land Management researcher.

J. Judson Wynne, with the Department of Biological Sciences at NAU and cave research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Southwest Biological Center, and Kyle Voyles, Arizona State Cave Coordinator for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), collected specimens leading to the discovery of two new millipede species in caves on opposite sides of the Grand Canyon.

Wynne and Voyles, known for their cave research, also discovered a new genus of cricket last spring.

"We knew the millipedes likely represented two distinct species because the two populations were separated by the Grand Canyon," Wynne said. "The fact these two species belong to an entirely new genus was a great surprise to us."

Wynne said these eyeless albino millipedes are "essentially living fossils" and provide researchers with another piece of the puzzle needed to better understand cave ecosystems.

He explained that during the last Ice Age, when northern Arizona was warmer and wetter, millipedes lived in leaf litter. As the climate warmed, they sought refuge in caves, where the subterranean realm provides more constant climatic conditions enabling their survival.

Representing two distinct species (one occurring in one cave on the South Rim, the other in two caves on the North Rim of Grand Canyon), this new genus of cave-limited millipede has been confirmed by Bill Shear, a leading millipede expert at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.

"Western U.S. caves have not been at all well explored for examples of cave life" Shear said. "We can expect more new species from the ongoing work at Northern Arizona University."

This new genus was confirmed by analysis of the eighth pair of legs (or gonopods) on the male specimens. Gonopods are highly modified legs used to transfer spermat ophores (packets of sperm) to the females during reproduction.

For the north rim species, Voyles explained that the discovery will result in the two caves becoming listed as 'significant' under the Federal Cave Resource Protection Act of 1988.

Voyles indicates there are a lot more exciting discoveries to be made. "With 170 known caves [on the BLM Arizona Strip lands], there is no doubt that there is more to find. The research we have conducted here is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg," he said.

He added that this also means more work for resource managers, who will now have to pay much closer attention to the use and conservation of these caves and their biological attributes.

Neil Cobb, curator of the Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod Biodiversity in the Department of Biological Sciences at NAU, said, "Caves are extreme habitats that have received far too little attention. The arthropods that can survive these dark and resource-poor environments can tell us a lot about what makes them so successful as a group."

While conducting ecological inventories of 30 caves on the Colorado Plateau of northern Arizona, research by Wynne and Voyles has resulted in the discovery of at least 10 new species, including a new species of spider, a new genus of cave cricket (Family Rhaphidophoridae), possibly two new cricket species, a new barklouse (Psocoptera) species, a new beetle species, and possibly two new springtail species (Collembola). With many of the collected specimens still awaiting identification by taxonomists, the researchers believe additional species discoveries are likely.

The new millipede genus will be named in honor of NAU ecologist, John Prather, who died last year.

Wynne, also an associate curator with the Colorado Plateau Museum of Arthropod Biodiversity, is also developing methods for detecting caves using thermal remote sensing imagery. Once procedures are developed, these techni ques ultimately will be used to find caves on Mars. He is also studying extreme cave-adapted life forms by characterizing their habitats to determine how they exist in the nutrient-starved cave environment.

Voyles is also the cave resource management lead for Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument. His work has led to the development of cave resource management plans and the ultimate protection of numerous caves in northwestern Arizona and southwestern Utah.
'"/>

Source:Northern Arizona University


Related biology news :

1. Fundamental Finding Yields Insight into Stem Cells, Cancer; Opens Door to Drug Discovery
2. Discovery of key proteins shape could lead to improved bacterial pneumonia vaccine
3. UCSD Discovery Shows How Embryonic Stem Cells Perform Quality Control Inspections
4. Discovery Could Lead To Novel Approaches In HIV Treatment
5. Discovery Promises Simpler Therapy for Sickle Cell Disease
6. Discovery may lead to better Candidiasis drug
7. Protein Discovery Could Unlock The Secret To Better TB Treatment
8. Discovery clarifies role of peptide in biological clock
9. Eliminate Data Analysis Bottlenecks in Drug Discovery
10. Discovery of New Dopamine Action May Yield Alternative Psychiatric Drugs
11. Discovery could be key to bioterrorism defense

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , ... multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex ... any combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. ... SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to ... ) , The analysts forecast the ... CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... number of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... April 14, 2016 BioCatch ... Detection, today announced the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger ... role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a ... of the deployment of its platform at several of ... technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ("Biorem" ... by its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, LP ... States based venture capital funds which together ... (on a fully diluted, as converted basis), that they ... their entire equity holdings in Biorem to TUS Holdings ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... medical technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. The company's primary focus ... distribution, manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary to help companies efficiently ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... on a range of subjects including policies, debt and investment ... Speaking at a lecture to the Canadian Economics ... the country,s inflation target, which is set by both the ... "In certain areas there needs to be frequent ... not sit down and address strategy together?" He ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... the release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” ... and retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: