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Family Xystodesmidae

millipede - Xystodesmidae? Polydesmid - Xystocheir millipede curled in defensive posture Possible Apheloria millipede? - Apheloria virginiensis Diplopoda - Apheloria montana Millipede - Apheloria virginiensis Thrinaxoria bifida infected by Arthrophaga sp. Apheloria virginiensis
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Myriapoda (Myriapods)
Class Diplopoda (Millipedes)
Order Polydesmida (Flat-backed Millipedes)
Family Xystodesmidae
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Xystodesmidae Cook, 1895
Fontariidae Attems, 1926
Eurydesmidae Chamberlin & Hoffman, 1958
48 genera listed at Discover Life
300+ spp worldwide.
18-22 (usually 20) body rings and prominent keels. All lack eyes, and the first pair of legs on the 7th ring are gonopods in males. Many are brightly colored and all have stink glands. (1)
Northern Hemisphere: Mediterranean region, northern Africa, eastern Asia, Russia, North America, and Central America.
Greatest diversity in the Appalachian region of Eastern North America.
Because of the complexity of the Xystodesmidae, it is necessary to divide the family into smaller units or tribes. There are 10 total tribes, 8 of which occur at least partly in the US & Canada:

Apheloriini - Ontario & Quebec, and the US east of the Central Plains.

Rhysodesmini - Essex Co., Ont.; the USA from North Dakota, Michigan & New York to Big Pine Key FL and the NE corner of Texas; also occurring from Big Bend Nat. Pk. & the Rio Grande Valley of Texas to El Salvador

Pachydesmini - southeastern US from NC & TN to northern Florida and northeastern Texas.

Nannariini - USA from Indiana & New York to southern Blue Ridge Mts. in north GA and Ouachita Prov. in AR.

Xystocheirini - California from Mendocino & Placer cos. to Tulare Co. & Santa Monica Mts. of Los Angeles Co.

Sigmocheirini - Sierra Nevada of California from ca. Placer to Tulare cos.

Chonaphini - US from Washington & Montana to Shasta Co., CA; southern Minnesota to Shenandoah Nat. Pk., VA; eastern China

Xystodesmini - along the Pacific Coast from southern Alaska and coastal BC to Big Sur, California; southeastern Washington, northeastern Oregon, & adjacent Idaho; Japan, Korea, & Riu Kiu Islands.
Print References
Marek, P.E. and Bond, J.E. 2006. Phylogenetic systematics of the colorful, cyanide-producing millipedes of Appalachia (Polydesmida, Xystodesmidae, Apheloriiini) using a total evidence Bayesian approach. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 41: 704-729.

Hoffman, R. 1999. Checklist of the millipeds of North and Middle America. Virginia Museum of Natural History Special Publications 8, 1–553.
Internet References
Range map and text description of distribution in North America
Family name synonyms; PDF doc after Rowland Shelley, 2003 (The Field Museum, Chicago)
List of genera (Discover Life, U. of Georgia)
Works Cited
1.Spiders and Their Kin: A Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press
Herbert W. Levi, Lorna R. Levi, Nicholas Strekalovsky. 2001. St. Martin's Press.