S. laeta Haase, 1887
S. laeta Haase 1887 Abh. Ber. K. zool. anthropol.-ethn. Mus. Dresden nr 5: 51.
S. l. viridis Kraepelin 1908 Fauna S. W.-Austral. 2: 126.
S. l. fasciata Kraepelin 1908 Fauna S. W.-Austral. 2: 126.
S. l. l avipes Kraepelin 1908 Fauna S. W.-Austral. 2: 126.
S. laeta: Attems 1930 Das Tierreich 54: 25.
Remarks: Kraepelin (1908) recognised three colour varieties of S. laeta. Of these,
Scolopendra l. viridis is listed in Minelli (2006) as a synonym of S. laeta, and S. l. fas-
ciata and S. l. l avipes as subspecies. L. E. Koch (1982) distinguished 5 intraspecii c
forms (A-E) by their colour patterns and mapped their distributions; 3 of these correspond to Kraepelin’s varieties, which Koch stated were forms of the same species and
Attems (1930) separated laeta from morsitans using the characters of the ultimate
legs in males with the dorsal surface of the prefemur, femur and sometimes the tibia
l attened and with raised edges in the latter species, rounded in the former. His key
did not separate the females. Koch (1982) did not use the ultimate leg characters but
provided a key that allows S. laeta to be distinguished from Australian S. morsitans.
Characters given for S. laeta (Australian S. morsitans in parentheses) are: tergite margination not before 17, often only distinct on tergites 19-21 (starting before, occasionally on 18), porose area of coxopleuron of ultimate legs with well-dei ned boundaries
which clearly do not reach median ridge of process or posterior edge of coxopleuron
(Fig. 35) (porose area extending on each side of the median ridge to the posterior edge
of the coxopleuron). Antennae with 17 to 19, rarely 20 or 21 antennomeres (20 or 21,
sometimes 19, rarely 17, 18, 22 or 23) and prefemora of ultimate legs short to moderate, length mostly 2.0 to 2.5 times width (2.5-3.0 times). Adult size small to moderate
i.e. 31 to 65mm (moderate to large in S. morsitans i.e. 85-127 mm).
h ere is clearly overlap in some of these characters but the coxopleural pore i elds
seem to distinguish the species. See under S. morsitans for further discussion. Scolopendra laeta has been recorded from the Philippines (Wang, 1951) and doubtfully from
Martinique (Demange, 1981). Bearing in mind the very close similarity between S.
laeta and S. morsitans the records from Martinique and the Philippines are highly suspect. h e Philippines specimen was immature (18mm long) and since Attems (1930)
key used adult male characters solely to separate the species, there is no way that this
specimen could have been assigned to S. laeta. h e specimen from Martinique lacked
coxopleural processes, these being replaced by a large tooth and Demange (1981) was
uncertain as to its identity. h e evidence for the occurrence of S. laeta outside Australia
is so weak that non Australian records can be disregarded.
S. morsitans L., 1758
Figs 4, 33, 34
S. morsitans L. 1758 Systema Naturae 1: 637.
S. morsitans scopoliana C. L. Koch 1841 M. Wagner, Reis Alger. 3: 222.
S. morsitans: Attems 1930 Das Tierreich 54: 23.
S. m. scopoliana: Attems 1930 Das Tierreich 54: 23.
S. morsitans amazonica Bücherl 1946 Mem. Inst. Butatan 19:135.
S. amazonica: Jangi 1959 Ent. News 70: 253.
S. jodhpurensis Khanna 1977 Oriental Insects 11: 154.
Distribution: USA (Florida), Mexico, Central and South America, Caribbean, Africa,
Asia, Australia, islands of Atlantic, Indian and western and central Pacii c Oceans.
Frequently introduced. European citations are dubious. See Shelley et al. (2005) for
further data on distribution.
Remarks: Bücherl (1946) described a subspecies, S. morsitans amazonica, from Brazil.
Later, Jangi (1955) described two sympatric forms of S. morsitans from Nagpur, India. He
subsequently referred the smaller of his two forms to S. m. amazonica elevating it to specii c rank (Jangi, 1959). h e two species were distinguished by a number of characters the
most important of which was the presence of a tarsal spur on the twentieth pair of legs in
S. morsitans. h e situation is, however, far from straightforward. African populations lack
this spur but in other respects may resemble S. morsitans (Lewis, 1969). Würmli (1975)
examined a series of oriental and Australian specimens; he concluded that S. morsitans is
a polymorphic species and that S. amazonica should be relegated to synonymy. However,
Jangi & Dass (1984) observed that the overlap that Würmli noticed between S. amazonica and S. morsitans seemed to result from independent geographical variation. h ey
stated that the two forms in the Deccan, India, occur sympatrically without hybridisation
and thus are distinct species. Würmli’s samples were from South and South-East Asia,
Oceania and Australia and New Zealand and it is interesting to note that only the Australian material had a tarsal spur on the twentieth pair of legs, the remainder lacked this
as did Lewis’s (1969) African material. Koch (1983) also noted that the tarsal spur on leg
20 was rarely absent in Australian S. morsitans. It is possible that there are two or more
sibling species. h e problem would reward further investigation.
S. morsitans is closely related to the Australian species S. laeta. Attems (1930) separated laeta from morsitans using the characters of the ultimate legs in males (see Remarks under S. laeta above). His key did not separate the females. Koch (1982) did
not use the ultimate leg characters but provided a key, which allows S. laeta to be
distinguished from Australian S. morsitans. Details of these dif erences are also given
under S. laeta above.
Non Australian populations of S. morsitans often show the characteristics ascribed
to S. laeta (see S. laeta above), namely tergite margination, number of antennomeres,
adult size and, possibly, the proportions of the ultimate leg prefemora, see for example
data on Sudanese and Nigerian S. morsitans (Lewis, 1966, 1968). h e distribution of 108 John G.E. Lewis / International Journal of Myriapodology 3 (2010) 83-122
pores on the coxopleura of the ultimate pair of legs, however, may well distinguish the
two species and should always be recorded as should the presence or absence of a tarsal
spur on the twentieth pair of legs.
NB Koch (1982) described the porose area of the coxopleuron as extending on each
side of the median ridge to the posterior edge. However, in the Nigerian specimens that I
have examined although the porose area extends to the posterior edge of the coxopleuron,
there are very few pores on the median surface of the coxopleural process (i g. 33).
Akkari et al. (2008) synonymised S. morsitans scopoliana, a deep olive green-blackish North African colour form from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia under S. morsitans.
S. multidens Newport, 1844
S. multidens Newport 1844 Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. 13: 97.
S. subspinipes multidens: Attems 1930: Das Tierreich 54: 30.
S. multidens Chao & Chang 2003 African Inverts. 44: 7.
Distribution: Japan, China, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia (Java).
Remarks: A valid species characterised by absence of genital appendages in male
and strongly punctate head capsule (Chao & Chan, 2003). On Taiwan it is distinct
from mutilans and subspinipes. However Schileyko (2007) referring to Vietnamese material states that it represents the nominal form i.e. S. s. subspinipes.
S. spinosissima Kraepelin, 1903
S. subspinipes spinosissima Kraepelin 1903 Mitt. Naturhist. Mus. Hamburg 20: 262.
S. spinosissima: Attems 1930 Das Tierreich 54: 31.
S. subcrustalis Kronmüller, 2009
S. subcrustalis Kronmüller 2009 Arthropoda 17: 48-51.
Remarks: Kronmüller considers the species to be closely related to S. subspinipes.
However, in some specimens the ultimate legs have the prefemur, femur and tibia dorsally l attened with lateral ridges, a situation otherwise seen only in male S. morsitans to
which the species is similar, dif ering primarily in lacking a median longitudinal suture
on tergite 21. A comparison of S. subcrustalis with S. morsitans from the Philippines
would be of considerable interest.
S. subspinipes subspinipes Leach, 1815
S. subspinipes Leach 1815 Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. 11: 383.
S. mutilans L. Koch 1878 Verh. Zool.-bot. Ges. Wien 27: 291.
S. subspinipes gastroforeata Muralewič 1913 Zool. Anz. 41: 201. syn. nov.
S. s. subspinipes: Attems 1930 Das Tierreich 54: 29.
S. s. mutilans: Attems 1930 Das Tierreich 54: 30.
? Scolopendra andhrensis Jangi & Dass 1980 J. Scient. Ind. Res. 43: 32.
Distribution: (including records as S. subspinipes): Russia (Maritime Province), India,
Sri Lanka, Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak), Singapore, Laos, Vietnam (Annam), h ailand, China including Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia (Sumatra
[Sinkip Island], Java, Krakatau, Lombok, Sunda, Sulawesi, Irian Jaya); São Tomé &
Príncipe, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Zanzibar, South Africa (Port Elizabeth, import from
India); Seychelles, Réunion, Mauritius (now probably absent), Rodrigues, Madagascar,
Andaman and Nicobar Islands; Pacii c Islands (detailed by Shelley 2000 and 2004);
Western Hemisphere – Bermuda; Central America & Caribbean Islands (detailed by
Shelley 2002), Colombia, Guyana, Surinam, French Guyana, Brazil.
S. subspinipes gastroforeata Muralewič, 1913.
S. subspinipes gastroforeata Muralewič 1913. Zool. Anz. 41: 201.
Distribution: Philippines (Mindanao).
Remarks: Based on a single specimen with coxopleural process and ultimate
prefemoral process two-spined but twentieth pair of legs without tarsal spur. h e specimen was listed under material of S. s. subspinipes by Schileyko (2007). It falls within
the variation seen in S. s. subspinipes with which it is here synonymised. Not listed in
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