photo: Z. Korsos
View distribution of this species on Google Earth using this file
There are about 30 members of the genus Icosidesmus
in New Zealand. Many species are yet to be described. All are similar to I. variegatus
in shape and size but colour patterns vary from a relatively uniform gold, reddish-brown, or greenish-brown, to patterns of brown and cream. As in most millipedes a defensive secretion is released from pores on the side of the keel-like projections on the side of the body units. This secretion is white in these millipedes but in others it can be bright red, yellow or brown. It stains the hands and stinks, thus putting off any predator hoping for a tasty morsel. I. variegatus
has a close relative I. schenkeli
that is endemic to Banks Peninsula and another, I. falcatus
that is widely distributed from North Canterbury to the Marlborough Sounds.
All species have distinct distribution patterns like the ones shown here and shown with Icosidesmus montanus
. I. schenkeli
is confined to the dry, western portion of Banks Peninsula and the wetter, eastern portion has an undescribed species.
Text updated: 24/05/2006