Scientist: Dr. Karin Voigtländer
Institution: Senckenberg Museum für Naturkunde Görlitz
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 therefor good indicators for various local soil conditions (e.g. calcium carbonate content).