A new species of Illacme from southern California (Siphonophorida, Siphonorhinidae)
The millipede fauna inhabiting deep soil are poorly known. They are small and threadlike, slow moving, lacking pigmentation, and rarely encountered due to their obscure underground way of life. One family, the Siphonorhinidae, encompasses four genera and 12 species in a fragmentary distribution in California, southern Africa, Madagascar, the Malay Archipelago, and Indo-Burma. The family is represented in the Western Hemisphere by a single genus, Illacme Cook & Loomis, 1928 from California, with its closest known relative, Nematozonium filum Verhoeff, 1939, from southern Africa. A new species of this family is documented from soil microhabitats in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Illacme socal Marek & Shear, sp. nov. Based on this discovery and the recent documentation of other endogean millipede species, we show that these grossly understudied subterranean fauna represent the next frontier of discovery. However, they are threatened by encroaching human settlement and habitat loss, and conservation of this species and other subterranean fauna is of high importance.