Ophiodesmus albonanus (Latzel, 1895)
GB IUCN status: Least Concern
A small white millipede (to 5mm in length) with body rather smooth and appearing shiny and typically coils into a tight spiral when disturbed. It can be confused with its frequent associate Macrosternodesmus palicola (a slightly smaller and more ‘bumpy’ millipede).
Although recorded a little less frequently, this species has a very similar distribution in Britain and Ireland to that of Macrosternodesmus palicola, with which it is often found. Thus it is absent from much of northern Scotland, north Wales and south west England.
In continental Europe where it has an Atlantic distribution but occurs at a much lower frequency than M. palicola. Jeekel (2001) considers the species to be a rarity in the Netherlands. It has been found as far east as Poland and as far north as Sweden in synanthropic habitats (Kime, 2001). It has also been introduced to Newfoundland (Blower, 1985).
Analysis of the recording scheme habitat data suggests that, like M. palicola, this species is very strongly associated with synanthropic suburban / urban sites especially churchyards and cultivated land such as allotments, gardens and parks. Most records (78%) are from sites on calcareous soils but, like M. palicola, it also occurs on more acidic soils in synanthropic habitats.
Gregory and Campbell (1996) report it is easiest to find in the spring in Oxfordshire. In Britain and Ireland adults have been reported from February to November but most frequently in April and May.
This species account is based on Lee (2006).