EuroSpeleo 2016 Sessions

Subterranean and surface cryptopid centipede diversity in Western Australia.

Session code: OS10

Oral / Science, Main EuroSpeleo Conference

Dr Timothy Moulds


Cryptops is the most speciose genus of the scolopendrid centipede family Cryptopidae, with nearly 200 species described worldwide from both surface and subterranean habitats. All species are blind and often lacking in pigmentation. The genus Cryptops currently has five recognised species in Australia (C. australis, C. haasei, C. hortensis, C. megalopora and C. spinipes) and a single troglomorphic member of the subgenus Trigonocrytops roeplainsensis Edgecombe from a cave on the Nullarbor Plain. This study has used a multigene approach of COI, 12S and 28S for 140 specimens to determine the diversity of Cryptops in Western Australia, focussing on the Pilbara region in the north of the state. Specimens from South Africa, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and the Canary Islands have also been sequenced to place the Australian fauna in a global framework. We plan to investigate biogeographic and phylogenetic patterns of subterranean and epigean Cryptopid species. Preliminary data show three major clades of species with at least three separate invasions of the subterranean habitat in Western Australia.


Tim Moulds is a caver and cave biologist based in Western Australia. He is primarily interested in subterranean biodiversity, especially in northern Australia and South East Asia. He also enjoys exploration, surveying, sport caving and photography.


Timothy Moulds, Joel Huey, Mia Hillyer, Julianne Waldock and Mark Harvey.

Arachnology Department, Western Australian Museum, Perth, Western Australia, Australia