Morphological anomalies in a Polish population of Stigmatogaster subterranea (Chilopoda: Geophilomorpha):a multi-year survey
After a multi-year survey of the centipede fauna in the city of Poznañ (Poland), we document here the high frequency of naturally occurring anomalies in an isolated population of the geophilomorph Stigmatogaster subterranea (Shaw, 1794). Out of 809 specimens collected in 1991 to 2007, 25.8 % are affected by anomalies of either the appendages or the trunk. In particular, 6.4 % of the specimens have anomalous features in the trunk, 18.9 % on the legs, and 2.5 % on the antennae. Anomalies are found in juveniles and adult specimens as well, and the frequency of defects does not differ between sexes. Preliminary observations indicate that similar anomalies occur with comparable high frequency also in other populations of S. subterranea. This suggests the possibility that a constitutional high level of developmental instability could be a distinctive feature of the species.
developmental stability, segmental anomaly, teratology