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Amplaria muiri

A cave species of Milliped named for John Muir

Several unusual new cave species have been discovered in recent years. Among them is Muir's Milliped, Amplaria muiri , a herbivorous nonpoisonous arthropod having a cylindrical body of 80 to 100 or more segments, each with two pairs of legs. The species type was disovered in Crystal Cave, Sequoia National Park in 2003. It was subsequently validated as a new species in a scientific paper published in in Zootaxa in 2007 by William A. Shear and Jean K. Krejca.

Amplaria muiri - Photo by Dr. Jeann K. Krejca, Zara Environmental LLC.
Amplaria muiri - Photo Copyright © by Dr. Jean K. Krejca, Zara Environmental LLC. Used by permission. This specimen was photographed in Crystal Cave, Sequoia National Park.

The new species was described by Dr. Shear and Dr. Krejca, who noted that it was named:

"After John Muir, famous naturalist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, whose name is forever connected with the Sierra Nevada, which he called the 'Range of Light'."
Scientific Name: Amplaria muiri
Common Name: Muir's Milliped
Family: Striariiadae
Order: Chordeumatida
Class: Diplopoda
Habitat: Caves
Types: Crystal Cave, Sequoia National Park, Tulare County, California.
Taxonomic Comments: Length 16.5 mm, width 1.2 mm. Three, four, or five small, irregularly shaped black ocelli in one or two rows. Color of most specimens is yellowish white (see photo).

Source: Revalidation of the milliped genus Amplaria Chamberlin 1941 (Diplopoda, Chordematida, Striariiadea) , and description of two new species from caves in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks California by William A. Shear and Jean K.Krejca Zootaxa 1532: 23-39 (2007).

See also: Discoveries in the Dark, National Geographc (September, 2007).

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