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A global species catalog of the myriapod class Diplopoda

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13,599 accepted species, of which 100% checked
24,794 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 13,000, 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 – ChiloBase 2.0 – 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. The symphylans and pauropods have recently been included in MilliBase.

MilliBase Scope

MilliBase is a global taxonomic database, managed by a group of diplopod experts that aims to capture all described millipede, pauropod and symphylan 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 general distribution of taxa and 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.

MilliBase Data Use

MilliBase is the taxonomic data supplier for the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), Catalogue of Life (COL), Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Encyclopedia of Life (EoL), ChecklistBank, GenBank, iNaturalist and other users.

There is a frequent exchange of new taxon names between Myriatrix and MilliBase.

A common identifier is used for literature citations in MilliBase and CIM LIT.

Millipede taxa in Wikipedia/Wikispecies/Wikidata are linked to MilliBase via taxon identifiers.

History of MilliBase

MilliBase integrates/combines two, originally independent databasing projects: Jörg Spelda’s extensive SysMyr and Catalog of Life records and Petra Sierwald’s database, derived from H. W. Brölemann’s (1860-1933) ‘Iconography.’

SysMyr started as a collection of species names (checklist of myriapod species) in 1990, with associated taxonomic literature being added to a relational database. Several programs and initiatives in Germany supported the expansion and development of SysMyr database structure and its modules: German BIOLOG database development program, the GBIF program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, umbrella project ID: 01LI0205, Species 2000, and the 4D4Life project.

An initiative to unite existing databases of myriapod literature by German colleagues provided the literature citations for SysMyr. With the goal to generate a complete myriapod bibliography Jörg Spelda, Jörg Rosenberg and Karin Voigtländer cooperated in 2003 under the project name “GerMyLit”. Since 2005 Hans Reip acts as project manager; he merged first the databases of Jörg Spelda and Norman Lindner with his own. MyriaLit served as the first major literature source for SysMyr and MilliBase in 2016.

Brölemann’s (1860-1933) illustrated species level index card catalog, the ‘Iconographie’ was maintained in the Myriapod collection at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. In 2000, curatorial staff at the MNHN 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.

In 2009, at a Diplopoda workshop at the Zoologische Staatssammlung in Munich, Petra and Jörg began collaboration towards a combined, comprehensive world-wide taxonomic catalog of the class Diplopoda that was to be served freely online.

In 2016, the data management team at the Flanders Marine Institute – VLIZ, Oostende, Belgium - migrated the data from Petra’s Access database to the Aphia (WoRMS) platform. 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. In 2017, the records from Jörg’s SysMyr database were transferred to the Aphia platform and the two datasets were merged.

In 2019, the MyriaLit as well as the latest version of the literature collection of the Senckenberg Museum of Natural and History Görlitz (ca. 8.000 references) were merged and the CIM LIT - The Online Literature Database for Myriapoda from the Centre International de Myriapodologie (CIM) went online and allows all CIM members to add references to this database. It contains nearly 17,000 references on Chilopoda, Diplopoda, Pauropoda and Symphyla from the year 1551 up to date. The myriapod reference literature data of MilliBase and CIM LIT were compared in 2022/2023 by Peter Decker and the CIM LIT source identifiers were inserted for 17,015 myriapod literature references in MilliBase. Altogether, 3.576 new references were imported 2023 into MilliBase from CIM LIT data, as well as 550 missing links to publications and 88 new DOI's. A future exchange of linked data (literature, distribution, records, types) and comparison of data is now possible.

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. (2001) A bibliographic catalogue of the Asiatic Sphaerotheriida (Diplopoda). Myriapod Memoranda, 3: 1–38.
Jeekel, C.A.W. (2001) A bibliographic catalogue of the Siphonophorida (Diplopoda). Myriapod Memoranda, 3(27): 44–71.
Jeekel, C.A.W. (2001) 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
Jeekel, C. A. W. (2007). An annotated bibliographical catalogue of the Indo-Australian Platyrhacidae (Diplopoda, Polydesmida). Myriapod memoranda. 10: 49-101.
Kime, R. D.; Enghoff, H. (2011). Atlas of European Millipedes (Class Diplopoda) Volume 1 Orders Polyxenida, Glomerida, Platydesmida, Siphonocryptida, Polyzoniida, Callipodida, Polydesmida. Fauna Europaea Evertebrata. 3: 1-282.
Kime, R. D.; Enghoff, H. (2017). Atlas of European millipedes 2: Order Julida (Class Diplopoda). European Journal of Taxonomy. 346: 1–299.
Kime, R. D.; Enghoff, H. (2021): Atlas of European millipedes 3: Order Chordeumatida (Class Diplopoda). European Journal of Taxonomy 769 (1): 1-244.
Krabbe, E. (1982). Systematik der Spirostreptidae (Diplopoda, Spirostreptomorpha). Abhandlungen und Verhandlungen des Naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins in Hamburg (N.F.), 24: 1-476. Hamburg
Recuero, E.; Sánchez-Vialas, A. (2018). A new distinctive species of Barydesmus (Diplopoda, Polydesmida, Platyrhacidae) from Ecuador, with an annotated bibliographical checklist of the American Platyrhacidae. Zootaxa. 4482(2): 245.
Vagalinski, B.; Lazányi, E. (2018). Revision of the millipede tribe Brachyiulini Verhoeff, 1909 (Diplopoda: Julida: Julidae), with descriptions of new taxa. Zootaxa. 4421(1): 1-142.

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.

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.

The Fellegship of the Rings (2020 onwards): Myriatrix. Available from: Accessed since 2021 to correct and import new taxon names.


MilliBase content and development is managed by Petra Sierwald and Peter Decker, also managing the communication with the Aphia Data Management team. We greatly appreciate suggestions, corrections and requests for participation as taxonomic editors.

They can be reached at: Petra Sierwald: and Peter Decker:


Usage of data from the MilliBase in scientific publications should be acknowledged by citing as follows:

If the data from the MilliBase constitute a substantial proportion of the records used in analyses, the chief editor(s) of the database should be contacted. There may be additional data which may prove valuable to such analyses.

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’
BIOLOG team: Jörg Spelda gratefully acknowledges the SysMyr database design support by members of the BIOLOG project; especially: Ludwig Beck, Christoph Häuser, Norbert Hirneisen, Joachim Holstein, Hubert Höfer, Franz Horak, Alexander Kroupa, Christian Köppel and Klaus Riede.
Billey, Amber (Systems Metadata Librarian, Bard College): 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.
Diversity Workbench developer team: thanks are due to developers of the Diversity Workbench for numerous helpful SysMyr design suggestions; especially: Gregor Hagedorn, Anton Link, Dagmar Triebel, Tanja Weibulat and Markus Weiss.
Field Museum’s library staff: over the last 20 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. The library also facilitates placing rare millipede works on Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). Without Field Museum’s library with its excellent collections, MilliBase would have just a fraction of the literature content.
GBIF Germany, node Evertebrates II: colleagues at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich and the central administration of the Bavarian Natural History Collections supported the work on Jörg’s SysMyr database since 2003; especially: Roland Melzer, Gerhard Haszprunar (director Zoologische Staatssammlung Munchen), Maria Luise Kaim, Eva Natzer, Marc Ritzerfeld, Stefan Schmidt.
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 (Senior Information Systems Administrator & liaison to Science, 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 (1930-2017): I, Petra Sierwald, dedicate my efforts on MilliBase to Professor Dr. Otto Kraus, Professor Emeritus at the University of Hamburg, Germany, 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. (1934-2022; Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (MNHN) Paris): kindly gave permission to transfer a copy of the 12,000 index cards of the ‘Iconographie’ to the Field Museum in Chicago, and thus facilitated the development of MilliBase.
Platnick, N. I. (1951-2020; American Museum of Natural History): with the worldwide 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. (1942-2018; North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences): compiled 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’ index card copies 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. During 2023, Elizabeth scanned all 12,000 index card copies of the Iconography as jpg files. In the near future, these will be available on MilliBase.
Species 2000 team: the SysMyr database development benefitted greatly from support by the 4D4Life project. Special acknowledgements are due to late Frank Bisby, Yuri Roskov and Luvie Paglinawan
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.
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MilliBase 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.


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Website and databases developed and hosted by VLIZ · Page generated 2024-07-14 · contact: Petra Sierwald