Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps



Compiler and date details

February 2010 - ABRS — taxa updated from Scheller (2009) by addition of new species and new records from Tasmania

31 March 2002 - Penelope Greenslade, Division of Botany and Zoology, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia and Ulf Scheller, Sweden


The Pauropoda are a class of little known, small terrestrial arthropods from 1–5 mm in length. In some respects they resemble small millipedes but have only one pair of legs per body segment. Newly hatched individuals have only three pairs of legs. They are found in damp leaf litter, in soil or under stones and appear to feed on fungus, humus and bodies of dead animals.

Worldwide, 715 species are known. In Australia, 18 species in seven genera and two families are described, about half of these species are currently considered to be endemic. Postle et al. (1991) recorded three genera from Australia without described species (Hemipauropus Silvestri, Rabadauropus and Polypauropoides Remy) and the family Brachypauropodidae. They also recorded 40 species in eight genera from eucalypt forest in the southwest of Western Australia and only two of the species were already described. On this basis, it is possible that the Australian fauna could number at least 500 species.

The class Pauropoda consists of two suborders, Hexamerocerata and Tetramerocerata, which may be distinguished by the structure of the antennae. Only the Tetramerocerata are found in Australia.

Limital Area

Distribution data in the Directory is by political and geographic region descriptors and serves as a guide to the distribution of a taxon. For details of a taxon's distribution, the reader should consult the cited references (if any) at genus and species levels.

Australia is defined as including Lord Howe Is., Norfolk Is., Cocos (Keeling) Ils, Christmas Is., Ashmore and Cartier Ils, Macquarie Is., Australian Antarctic Territory, Heard and McDonald Ils, and the waters associated with these land areas of Australian political responsibility. Political areas include the adjacent waters.

Terrestrial geographical terms are based on the drainage systems of continental Australia, while marine terms are self explanatory except as follows: the boundary between the coastal and oceanic zones is the 200 m contour; the Arafura Sea extends from Cape York to 124 DEG E; and the boundary between the Tasman and Coral Seas is considered to be the latitude of Fraser Island, also regarded as the southern terminus of the Great Barrier Reef.

Distribution records, if any, outside of these areas are listed as extralimital. The distribution descriptors for each species are collated to genus level. Users are advised that extralimital distribution for some taxa may not be complete.



Pauropods have soft, colourless, cylindrical bodies comprising 12 segments, carrying alternately large and small dorsal plates, lateral setae, head with two pairs of mouth-parts (mandibles and first maxillae) and branched antennae, and nine to eleven pairs of legs, one pair per segment. Segment one forms the collum and segment 11 lacks legs. Pauropoda lack eyes, a heart and tracheal system.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
03-Mar-2010 MODIFIED