Biology ETDs

Publication Date



The taxa of family Atopetholidae Chamberlin 1918 occurring in the southwestern US and Mexico, including Baja California, are revised with new records and species from collections that have never been evaluated. Five new genera, Aculeulus, Bajabolus, Choixulus, Pinnaulus and Tamaulus and twenty new species, Aculeulus monicae, Arinolus anahiae, Arinolus sequoiaensis, Arinolus shelleyi, Atopetholus lowreyi, Atopetholus milleri, Atopetholus westi, Bajabolus bernadinoensis, Bajabolus lapazensis, Choixulus valdezi, Eurelus alisonae, Eurelus isaiasi, Eurelus marisae, Pinnaulus fieldsi, Tamaulus brantleyae, Tamaulus justini, Tamaulus maribelleae, Tamaulus miae, Tamaulus wardae and Watichelus sheari are described using morphological data and 18 synonyms are proposed for a total fauna of 15 genera and 56 species. Taxonomic characters useful in identifying species of Atopetholidae are discussed. The slate millipede, Comanchelus chihuanus (Chamberlin, 1947) (Diplopoda, Spirobolida, Atopetholidae), is the only millipede in New Mexico to be designated a Species of Concern (SOC) by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The designation as a SOC was based on the documentation of only two populations. This project seeks to clarify whether the slate millipede should be elevated to protected status (as a threatened species) or should be eliminated from tracking based on population distribution data. The taxonomic and legal history, current distribution, and identifying characters are presented. Documentation of more than 30 populations of Comanchelus chihuanus indicate the species does not warrant listing as threatened and tracking as a sensitive species should be terminated. An analysis of morphological data was performed for the Atopetholidae Chamberlin 1918 to attempt to resolve sub-family, generic and specific relationships. A parsimony analysis of 47 characters coded for 47 species was conducted. A strict consensus tree resulted in a polytomy with poor support for any clades. Additional research and collection of fresh material for genetics will be required to resolve family structure.

Project Sponsors

Society for Systematic Biologists (SSB), Center for Systematic Entomology




Atopetholidae, Aculeulus, Arinolus, Atopetholus, Bajabolus, Choixulus, Cyclothyrophorus, Eurelus, Hesperolus, Onychelus, Piedolus, Pinnaulus, Tamaulus, Tarascolus, Tidolus, Watichelus, Southwestern US, Mexico, Diplopoda, Revision, Taxonomy

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Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lowrey, Timothy

Second Committee Member

Brantley, Sandra

Third Committee Member

Shear, William