Remysymphyla spinosa, Camacho & Vandenspiegel, 2012

Camacho, Miguel Domínguez & Vandenspiegel, Didier, 2012, Scolopendrellidae (Myriapoda, Symphyla) from the Afrotropics with descriptions of seven new species, European Journal of Taxonomy 32, pp. 1-28 : 19-23

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scientific name

Remysymphyla spinosa

sp. nov.

Remysymphyla spinosa sp. nov.

Figs 9 View Fig , 10 View Fig

Type material


Sex unknown, CONGO D.R., Kivu, Itombwe, terr. D’Uvira , tête de source de la Nyalengwe (03º30’ S, 029º00’ E), in a mountain forest with bamboo, 2500 m, coll. Leleup N., Aug. 1959 ( MRAC 22161 View Materials ). GoogleMaps


2, sex?, same data as holotype ( MRAC 22162).

Type locality

CONGO D.R., Kivu, Itombwe, terr. D’Uvira, tête de source de la Nyalengwe (03º30’ S, 029º00’ E), in a mountain forest with bamboo, 2500 m.


The species name is an adjective emphasizing the long and erect setae of the tergites, which give this species a spiny aspect.

Description (holotype)

LENGTH. 2.1 mm.

HEAD. 1.3 times as long as broad with broadest part behind the middle on a level with lateral protuberances ( Fig. 9A View Fig ). Lateral margins nearly straight. Central rod well-developed and not broken. Frontal branches also well-developed. Median branches not very distinct in the holotype, but clearly distinct in the paratypes ( Fig. 9B View Fig ). Dorsal surface with very long and spiny setae of equal length. Cuticle with dense granulation ( Fig. 9G View Fig ).

ANTENNAE. Broken in holotype. Rather short, in paratype left antenna with 27 segments, right with 29, ( Fig. 9C View Fig ). All segments of equal length and pretty broad, 1.8-1.9 times as wide as long. Antennae densely setose, with a spiny appearance; setae erect and long. Longest setae in the inner part of the median segments, with length of 0.5-0.7 times the diameter of segments. Secondary whorl of setae appears in the 6 th- 8 th segments. Size and number of setae decreases gradually in the seven distal segments, and are totally absent in the last three ones. Apical segment flattened, more than 3 times as wide as long. It presents a transversal depression, bestowing a coffee-bean shape. All segments with pretty long and conspicuous pubescence.

TERGITES. Not all well-visible in the studied specimens, at least 17 can be counted in the holotype, of which 13 present triangular processes ( Figs 9A View Fig , 10A View Fig ). All tergites – except the first and the two latest – sclerotized only in the lateral parts. All tergal setae very long; shortest setae at least as long as triangular processes. Triangular processes longer than broad in the anterior tergites, with digitiform ends and no apical setae; processes of the posterior tergites thinner and reduced to small digitiform projections ( Fig. 10C View Fig ). First tergite with six setae arranged in two groups of three. Second tergite comparatively very large ( Fig. 9A, E View Fig ), with five posteromarginal, one central and six lateromarginal setae. Anterolateral setae not longer than the rest. All tergites with pubescence. Last tergite subelliptical, with posterior margin convex ( Fig. 10B View Fig ).

LEGS. First pair of legs reduced to two oviform knobs densely covered by numerous spines ( Fig. 9F, H View Fig ). Two longer setae on the laterals, about twice as long as the whole knob. Last pair of legs with thick and long setae at the distal part of the joints ( Fig. 10B, C View Fig ). Femur and tibia with three setae; tarsus with two protruding dorsal setae. Cuticle pubescent.

STYLI. Small, elongate and spike-like, covered by hairs ( Fig. 9D View Fig ).

CERCI. 2.8 times as long as wide, with straight margins ( Fig. 10B, C View Fig ). About 25 visible setae from the dorsal view, slightly curved and depressed. Cuticle with faint pubescence. Limit between cerci sensu stricto and terminal areas not transversal, but diagonal, as a continuation of the outer margin towards the inner margin ( Fig. 10B View Fig ). Terminal area small, 0.1 times as long as the total length of the cerci, conical, longer in the outer margin than in the inner with six diagonal striae, parallel to the basis of the terminal area. Apical seta about as long as terminal areas, curved inwards ( Fig. 10B, C View Fig ).

Affinities and differential diagnosis

The morphology of the first pair of legs, which does not present evidence of several joints, makes Remysymphyla spinosa sp. nov. more similar to R. hebetocornuta Scheller, 1971 than to the remaining African species. The spiny aspect of the body is characteristic for this species.


The genus attribution of this species has been problematic, mainly due to the above-explained confusion regarding the definition of Remysymphyla . The study of type specimens of Remysymphyla hova Aubry & Masson, 1952 allowed the recognition of the first pair of legs of R. spinosa sp. nov. as typical for this genus ( Figs 8 View Fig B-D; 9F, H). However, observations using SEM seems to be suboptimal for detection of one of its major diagnostic characters: the number of joints on the first pair of legs. Although no joints were discernible in this species, the shape of the oviforms knobs of R. spinosa sp. nov. resembles the two-jointed legs of R. hebetocornuta Scheller, 1971 .


Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale