Haplopodoiulus spathifer (Brölemann, 1897)
GB IUCN status: Not applicable (non-native)
This uncommon large dark millipede with a pointed projecting tail (telson) may be confused with several morphologically similar species, including Julus scandinavius, Ophyiulus pilosus or Tachypodoiulus niger.
Identification is best undertaken by examination of male gonopods. A description of this species, with figures, is provided by Corbet & Jones (1996).
Although originally collected from Kew Gardens in 1976, this species was not identified from Britain until 1986 (Corbet & Jones, 1996). Subsequently it was recorded from three further sites, Bedgebury Arboretum in Kent, Wakehurst Place in East Sussex. The millipede must have been introduced to Kew Gardens and probably spread from there to Bedgebury and Wakehurst Place, both of which have connections with Kew. More recently it has been recorded from the NHM garden in London and several ornamental gardens in Cornwall.
This species has a strict Atlantic distribution and is native to a small region of south west France and north west Spain centred on the western Pyrenees (Kime, 1999).
It is found outdoors rather than in glasshouses but there are insufficient records available for reliable conclusions to be drawn from further analysis of the recording scheme data. Corbet and Jones (1996) reported that it occurred under stones and dead wood but preferred deep, deciduous leaf litter that retains moisture through the summer. The millipede can clearly overwinter in southern England and it is surprising that it does not appear to have spread to areas local to the botanic gardens.
Adult animals have been collected in March and June.
This species account is based on Lee (2006).