How to uncoil your partner--"mating songs" in giant pill-millipedes (Diplopoda: Sphaerotheriida)

Die Naturwissenschaften
Thomas WesenerDidier van den Spiegel


The stridulation of the giant pill-millipede genus Sphaerotherium from South Africa, one of only three groups of millipedes that produce sounds, was studied. One hundred one stridulation series of a total of nine different species (Sphaerotherium dorsaloide, Sphaerotherium hanstroemi, Sphaerotherium mahaium, Sphaerotherium similare, Sphaerotherium punctulatum, Sphaerotherium convexitarsum, Sphaerotherium dorsale, Sphaerotherium rotundatum, and Sphaerotherium perbrincki) were analyzed. Stridulation sounds are produced only with a special field of ribs on the posterior surface of the posterior telopod, which is actively moved over a field of sclerotized nubs on the inner margin of the anal shield. The Sphaerotherium male usually stridulates only when in contact with a female to initiate mating. This seems to prevent the female from volvating into a ball or stimulate the female to uncoil when already rolled in. The sound analyzes revealed a broad frequency spectrum in all stridulation sounds produced, without obvious differences in frequency distribution among species. However, the temporal pattern of the stridulation varies greatly between species and seems to be species-specific, arguing for a species recognition function of the...Continue Reading


Dec 1, 1968·Die Naturwissenschaften·U Haacker
Feb 26, 1965·Science·T A SEBEOK
Jan 1, 1993·Current Biology : CB
Dec 14, 2006·Annual Review of Entomology·Petra Sierwald, Jason E Bond

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