Spatial behaviour of Salamandra atra aurorae Trevisan, 1982, was investigated by a capture-recapture program during a whole season of activity. Salamanders changed their behaviour with growth: while juveniles usually dispersed on the ground, adults showed a strong fidelity to a limited area, a few square metres wide, also from year to year. Each individual frequently changed its diurnal refuge over the course of the whole activity season, choosing among a large variety of potential shelters. The distribution pattern of the home ranges was slightly aggregated, irrespective of age and sex. Under the assumptions of a closed population and an equal catchability among individuals, a density of 475 (±184; 95% confidence interval) salamanders per hectare was estimated in a mature and quite open wood, whereas a density of 97 (±23; 95% confidence interval) salamanders per hectare was estimated in a thicker wood.
As a contribution to investigate the interspecific diversity in the large genus Mecistocephalus Newport, 1843 with respect to these centipedes’ predatorial role in soil tropical communities, we compared the patterns of maxillipede denticles in 32 species of the genus, and studied all published relevant information. All Mecistocephalus species share a conservative pattern of six distinct denticles on the mesal side of the four articles of each maxillipede. Current views on centipede phylogeny suggest that the basic pattern in Mecistocephalus originated from an ancestral array of fewer denticles, by addition of other denticles on the first and fourth articles of the maxillipede. These patterns are not affected by sexual dimorphism, and intraspecific variation for denticle position, size and shape is negligible, but for minor allometry determining a relative increase of the size of some denticles with respect to the maxillipedes during growth. Species differ mainly in size, shape, and orientation of most denticles. Remarkably larger and unusually shaped denticles are found in a hitherto undescribed species from the Seychelles, which is described in this paper as M. megalodon n. sp.
Within the Alpine-Dinaric range of distribution of the Alpine salamanders (Salamandra atra), the genetically and phenotypically distinct Salamandra atra aurorae and S. atra pasubiensis are isolated in the south-eastern Prealps, but their precise distribution is only known incompletely. During 2012 we searched potentially suitable areas for a total of 155 hours during 48 days, and collected and evaluated occasional reports from people visiting these areas. S. atra aurorae was found on the northern part of the Sette Comuni and Vezzena plateau, at an altitude between 1200-1800 m, from Val Postesina to just north of Gallio and to Monte Fossetta (new site, more than 5 km from those previously known), within an estimated area of occupancy of 26 km2. S. atra pasubiensis was confirmed with a single population on the Pasubio massif, at 1450-1800 m, with an effective range of less than 2 km2. Previous reports of alpine salamanders from the Carega massif have remained unconfirmed.
The centipedes of the clade Epimorpha change slightly during post-embryonic growth but there is huge variation between species in the maximum body size. New specimens of the rarely collected Neotropical genus Dinogeophilus provide further evidence that this genus comprises the smallest species of the Epimorpha, with a recorded maximum length of 5.5 mm. Up to now Dinogeophilus has been invariantly classified in Geophilidae but different sources of evidence (examination by SEM, cladistic evaluation of morphology, similarity and phylogenetic analysis of molecular data) agree on a very different phylogenetic hypothesis: Dinogeophilus is actually a derived lineage of Schendylidae, only distantly related to Geophilidae, and possibly belong to a mainly Neotropical subgroup of schendylids. A comparison of Dinogeophilus with the most closely related taxa suggests that body miniaturization was accompanied by possibly paedomorphic traits, including lower number of some multiple elements (antennal sensilla, processes on the mouth-parts, coxal organs) and shorter setae. Possibly associated with miniaturization are also a few novel features of Dinogeophilus, among which the unique subterminal denticles of the forcipules, suggesting a possible change in the feeding behaviour.