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A global species catalog of the myriapod class Diplopoda

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13,372 accepted species, of which 100% checked
16,809 species names including synonyms

At the very end of the section INSECTA APTERA in the 10th edition of Systema Naturae, Linneaus (1758: 619) introduced the genus Julus: ‘Pedes numerosi, duplo utrinque plures, quam corporis segmenta.’ Seven species were listed, two each from Asia, India, and Europe and one from America.

Since then, the number of described millipede species has surpassed 12,000, making the Diplopoda the most species-rich class in the arthropod subphylum Myriapoda. The Myriapoda also contain the classes Chilopoda, Symphyla and Pauropoda. For the Chilopoda, or centipedes, a global species catalog is available, listing about 3,300 species and over 700 subspecies. Symphylans and pauropods, also called the dwarf myriapods, contain significantly fewer species, 200 and 600 species, respectively.

MilliBase Scope

MilliBase is a global taxonomic database, managed by a group of diplopod experts that aims to capture all described millipede species with the associated literature, the authorities and original descriptions of species, genera and all units of higher classification. Generic synonyms have largely been added to the database, species-level synonymies are under development. MilliBase also strives to add secondary citations from the taxonomic and systematic literature for all taxa, as well as important ecological and physiological works focusing on specific diplopod models. Whenever possible, we will attempt to link literature citations to freely available online sources, such as those on Biodiversity Heritage Library. It is the goal of the taxonomic editors to continuously update and improve the database to promote all forms of current and future millipede research and to support an active and vibrant global millipede research community.

History of MilliBase

The initial list of millipede species names (with genus, author, year, and country) was taken from H. W. Brölemann’s (1860-1933) illustrated card catalog, the ‘Iconographie’, which is maintained in the Myriapod collection at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. Curatorial staff at the MNHN continued the work on the Iconograpie, and kindly gave Dr. S.I. Golovatch permission to transfer a copy of the index card catalog to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Long-time and dedicated volunteer Ms E. Simmons at the Field Museum initially typed the names into Excel spreadsheets, other volunteers entered genus-level data and the initial set of literature citation from Dr. Jeekel’s Nomenclator generum et familiarum diplopodorum (1971). The spreadsheet data were then transferred into an Access database, largely developed by Amber Billey, who also checked and entered the vast majority of the literature information containing the original descriptions for all millipede species in the database. During the past few years various collaborations resulted in species lists and catalogs, e.g., with P. Stoev, P. Marek and A.D. Nguyen. Ms Simmons continued to add species data to the Access database. In 2016, the Access database was transferred to the Aphia platform by the WoRMS data management team in Flanders, Belgium. WoRMS already had a nucleus of myriapod species in its database: the myriapods occurring in the littoral zone, initiated and managed by Anthony D. Barber.

Major MilliBase sources

MilliBase’s foundation is a body of catalog works and online resources, assembled by some of the foremost scholars of Diplopodology. Without such catalogs, updates and online resources, MilliBase could not have been realized. The data contained in the works cited below should all already reside in MilliBase or will be added in the very near future.

Chamberlin, R.V.; Hoffman, R. L. (1958) Checklist of the millipeds of North America. United States National Museum, Bulletin 212: 1-236.
Hoffman, R. L.(1980 (1979)) Classification of the Diplopoda. Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle: 1-237. Geneve.
Hoffman, R. L.(1999) Checklist of the millipedes of North and Middle America. Virginia Museum of Natural History, special publication, 8: 1-584.
Jeekel, C. A. W. (1971) Nomenclator generum et familiarum Diplopodorum: A list of the genus and family-group names in the Class Diplopoda from the 10th edition of Linnaeus, 1758, to the end of 1957. Monografieen van de Nederlandse Entomologische Vereniging 5: 1-412.
Jeekel, C.A.W. (2001a) A bibliographic catalogue of the Asiatic Sphaerotheriida (Diplopoda). Myriapod Memoranda, 3: 1–38.
Jeekel, C.A.W. (2001b) A bibliographic catalogue of the Siphonophorida (Diplopoda). Myriapod Memoranda, 3(27): 44–71.
Jeekel, C.A.W. (2001c) A bibliographic catalogue of the Spirobolida of the Oriental and Australian regions (Diplopoda). Myriapod Memoranda, 4: 5–104.
Jeekel, C.A.W. (2003) A bibliographic catalogue of the order Glomeridesmida (Diplopoda). Myriapod Memoranda, 6: 102–109.
Jeekel, C.A.W. (2004) A bibliographic catalogue of the “Cambaloidea” (Diplopoda, Spirostreptida). Myriapod Memoranda, 7: 43–109.
Jeekel, C.A.W. (2006) A bibliographic catalogue of the Oriental Harpagophoridae (Diplopoda, Spirostreptida). Myriapod Memoranda, 9: 5–58.
Marek, P.E.; Bond, J.E.; Sierwald, P. (2003) Rhinocricidae Systematics II: A species catalog of the Rhinocricidae (Diplopoda: Spirobolida) with synonymies. Zootaxa, 308: 1-107
Marek, P.E.; Tanabe T.; Sierwald, P. (2014) A species catalog of the millipede family Xystodesmidae. Virginia Museum of Natural History Publications 17: 1-117.
Nguyen, A.D.; Sierwald, P. (2013) Worldwide catalog of the family Paradoxosomatidae Daday, 1889 (Diplopoda: Polydesmida). Check List 9(6):1132-1353
Shelley, R. M.; Sierwald, P.; Kiser, S. B.; Golovatch, S. I. (2000) Nomenclator generum et familiarum Diplopodorum II: 1-167.
Shelley, R. M. (2003) A revised, annotated, family-level classification of the Diplopoda. Arthropoda Selecta, 11(3): 187-207.
Shelley, R. M.; Golovatch, S. I. (2015) Nomenclator Generum et Familiarum Diplopodorum III. A list of the Genus-, Family-, and Ordinal-Group names proposed in the Class Diplopoda from 1 January 2000 – 31 December 2014. Arthropoda Selecta, 24(1)1-26.
Stoev, P.; Sierwald, P.; Billey, A. (2008) An annotated world catalogue of the millipede order Callipodida (Arthropoda: Diplopoda) Zootaxa, 1706: 1-50
Wesener, T. (2016). The Giant Pill-Millipedes, order Sphaerotheriida – An annotated species catalogue with morphological atlas and list of apomorphies. Bonn zoological Bulletin Supplementum. 63: 1-107

Online sources
Mesibov, R. (2016). Millipedes of Australia; available at: Accessed repeatedly since 2000
MyriaLit, Centre International de Myriapodologie, 2014. Hans Reip compiled and manages this literature database which incorporates the literature collections from the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History, the museum in Görlitz (curator Karin Voigtländer), and collections of Norman Lindner, Jörg Spelda, Peter Decker and Jörg Rosenberg. Available at: Accessed daily since 2000 for this project.
Spelda J. (2016). SysMyr: Systematic Myriapod Database (version Apr 2013). In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life, 23rd December 2016 (Roskov Y., Abucay L., Orrell T., Nicolson D., Bailly N., Kirk P., Bourgoin T., DeWalt R.E., Decock W., De Wever A., Nieukerken E. van, eds). Digital resource at Species 2000: Naturalis, Leiden, the Netherlands. Available at: Accessed daily since 2000 for this project

The importance of these online resources cannot be overemphasized. We are extremely grateful for the continuous support these resources are providing for millipede research and for generating MilliBase.


Please cite the usage of MilliBase if you utilize taxonomic information obtained from MilliBase in your publications. Citing MilliBase recognizes the contribution of this database and its editors and the underlying sources to the research community, which is an important facet to the ongoing growth and development of taxonomic knowledge.

Citations to the entire site

Sierwald, P. MilliBase. Accessed at on 2017-02-22

Individual pages are individually authored and dated. These can be cited separately; the proper citation is provided at the bottom of each page.


Bandaras, Melinda (Scientific Illustrator of Magpie Studio) designed the millipede logo graphics on the MilliBase Portal, depicting an ‘Essence of Millipedes’
Billey, Amber (Metadata Librarian, Columbia University Libraries): as a research assistant searched, assembled and catalogued most of the species-level literature from Field Museum libraries between 2004 and 2007. She made major improvements to the MilliBase database in organizing the multitude of data and data types. Her tenacity is greatly appreciated.
Field Museum’s library staff: over the last 15 years Field Museum’s library staff has generously and patiently supported the work on MilliBase, made the library accessible to me and the assistants, helped find obscure titles, located temporarily misplaced volumes, helped in online searches, and fulfilled hundreds of InterLibraryLoan requests. Without Field Museum’s library with its excellent collections, MilliBase would have just a fraction of the literature content.
Golovatch, S. I., (Institute for Problems of Ecology and Evolution, Russian Academy of Sciences) organized a complete copy of the ‘Iconographie’ from the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (MNHN) in Paris and made it available to the Field Museum in Chicago. This was the starting point of MilliBase.
Jones, Janeen (assistant collection manager in Invertebrates at the Field Museum): continuously and graciously (with great patience) gave her expertise and advice for many years during the building phase of the Access database of MilliBase
Kraus, Otto (University of Hamburg, Germany): I, Petra Sierwald, dedicate my efforts on MilliBase to Professor Dr. Otto Kraus, Professor Emeritus at the University of Hamburg, my Alma Mater, for his steadfast support to basic biological research in arthropods and to diplopod and arachnid taxonomy and systematics in particular. While I was working on my Ph.D. thesis on spiders under his guidance at Hamburg University in 1982-1985, he mentioned – once or twice: ... the really interesting arthropods on this planet are the Diplopoda... Eventually, I listened.
Mauries, J.-M. (Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (MNHN) Paris, Curator emeritus): kindly gave permission to transfer a copy of the ‘Iconographie’ to the Field Museum in Chicago, and thus facilitated the development of MilliBase.
Platnick, N. I. (American Museum of Natural History, Curator emeritus): with the world wide spider catalog Norman set the example after which MilliBase is built
Shear, W. A. (Hampden-Sydney College, Professor emeritus): Bill helped launch the first and subsequent National Science Foundation grants that provided funding to generate MilliBase, among other major research activities.
Shelley R. M. (North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, Curator emeritus): compiles the data for nomenclator II and graciously initiated and supported the production of the nomenclator II, which provided an important foundation for MilliBase.
Simmons, Elizabeth (Field Museum, volunteer): is ultimately responsible for MilliBase. She transferred the data from the ‘Iconographie’ sheets to an Excel spreadsheet (and the rest is history...). To this day she continues to support MilliBase by adding new data and literature every week.
WoRMS data management team (Flanders Marine Institute- VLIZ, Oostende, Belgium): The diplopod research community is immensely grateful to the dedicated data management team at the Flanders Marine Institute. Without their ongoing support, great expertise and dedication, bringing MilliBase online would not be possible at all.

Logo NSFLogo NSFMilliBase is made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation, in part by NSF DEB 97-12438 (PEET) to P. Sierwald & W.A. Shear, NSF DEB 05-29715 (PEET) to P. Sierwald, J.E. Bond & W.A. Shear, NSF DEB 12-56150 to J.E. Bond, P. Sierwald & W.A. Shear, and NSF EF-Digitization 14-02667 to P. Sierwald & R. Bieler. The initial development of MilliBase was supported by a grant of Field Museum’s BioSynCenter, with a meeting held at the Zoologische Staatssammlung in Munich (March 2009).

The MilliBase initiative is supported by LifeWatch, which is part of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructure (ESFRI) and can be seen as a virtual laboratory for biodiversity and ecosystem research.


Website and databases developed and hosted by VLIZ · Page generated 2017-02-22 · contact: Petra Sierwald