Contact person: Dr. Karin Voigtländer
Institution: Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz
Internet: Senckenberg Sektion Myriapoda
Like Chilopoda, Diplopoda (millipedes) belong to the myriapod Antennata (Myriapoda). With more than 12,000 known species worldwide, Diplopoda are one of the most important animal groups for soil functions due to their saprophagous way of life.
Especially members of the families Julidae and Glomeridae play a crucial role in organic litter metabolism. In soils where earthworms are missing (e.g. sandy soils), Diplopoda can almost completely take over their role as litter decomposers, soil mixers and humus accumulators.
Diplopod species partly show narrow preferences for characteristic habitat types and are therefore good indicators for various local soil conditions (e.g. calcium carbonate content).