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ZooKeys  2012 

Occurrence and assemblage composition of millipedes (Myriapoda, Diplopoda) and terrestrial isopods (Crustacea, Isopoda, Oniscidea) in urban areas of Switzerland

DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.176.2153

Keywords: Decomposers , urbanization , woodlice , urban biodiversity , arthropods

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Abstract:

Terrestrial isopods and millipedes, members of the invertebrate macro-decomposer guild, were collected through pitfall traps in three Swiss cities (Zurich, Lucerne, Lugano). A total of 7,198 individuals of 17 isopod species (7093 ind.), and 10 millipede species (105 ind.) were captured. Besides the Alpine endemic isopod (Trichoniscus alemannicus) and millipede (Cylindroiulus verhoeffi), urban assemblages were mainly composed of widespread, native European and even cosmopolitan species, which are frequent in anthropogenic areas. Overall species richness (isopods and millipedes combined) was similar in Zurich (17 species) and Lucerne (16), while only 13 species were sampled in Lugano. According to the S rensen index of similarity, species composition of Zurich and Lucerne were more alike, while the one of Lugano was more distinct from the other two cities.This result can be explained by the spatial proximity of Zurich and Lucerne in the north of the Alps compared to Lugano, which is located more distantly and in the south of the Alps. Dominant isopods and millipedes in Zurich and Lucerne were found to be widespread synanthropic species in temperate Europe (Porcellio scaber, Trachelipus rathkii and Ophyiulus pilosus) while the dominant isopod in Lugano (Trachelipus razzautii) is a species with a north-eastern Mediterranean distribution. Our study reveals that the urban millipede and isopod fauna in Swiss cities mainly consists of widespread species, but species of narrower distribution (e.g. T. alemannicus, C. verhoeffi ) may also find suitable habitats in cities. Despite some signs of biotic homogenization, our study also found compositional differences of millipede and isopod assemblages between northern and southern cities that suggest geographical effects of the regional species pool.

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