Four new species of millipedes discovered in Colorado caves

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DENVER, Colo. (KDVR) — A discovery of four new species of millipede in multiple Colorado caves was announced in June by David Steinmann, a research associate in the zoology department at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

“Finding a new species does not require traveling to exotic places, there is so much to be discovered right here in Colorado,” Steinmann said. “There are many unique areas to explore in our wonderful state.”

These millipede are only found in Colorado and are identified as part of a new genus named Coloradesmus.

The millipedes live deep underground in total darkness, have just 17 pairs of legs, are eyeless and albino, and sense their surroundings using antennae and small hairs called setae.

The four new species of cave millipede were identified after two decades of research by Steinmann and Dr. William Shear, professor of biology emeritus at Hampden-Sydney College.

The four newly identified species:

  • Coloradesmus manitou, discovered in Cave of the Winds, Manitou Springs
  • Coloradesmus beckleyi, discovered in Glenwood Caverns, Glenwood Springs
  • Coloradesmus warneri, discovered in a cave outside Fort Collins
  • Coloradesmus hopkinsae, discovered in five U.S. Forest Service caves

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