, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 283-291
Date: 21 May 2011

Isotopic signature (15 N/14 N and 13 C/12 C) confirms similarity of trophic niches of millipedes (Myriapoda, diplopoda) in a temperate deciduous forest

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The species composition, abundance, and isotopic signature of millipedes (Myriapoda, Diplopoda) were investigated in seven biotopes of Kaluzhskie Zaseki State Nature Reserve. Nine Diplopoda species were found in total, and the local species diversity (within a sampling plot) reached seven species. The Diplopoda tissues were similar to the plant litter in the isotopic composition of nitrogen (δ15N was by 0.4‰ higher, on average), but were strongly enriched in heavy carbon (δ13C was by 4‰ higher, on average). Removal of mineral carbon from the cuticle reduced δ13C of Diplopoda by about 1.4‰ on average. Differences in the δ15N and δ13C values between the species did not exceed 2.5‰. Differences in the isotopic compositions of the considered species were small, and, it is impossible to distinguish particular trophic guilds in the Diplopoda community. Analysis of the published data confirmed that isotopic differentiation of millipedes was much less pronounced than in other investigated groups of soil animals. Hence, millipedes of the deciduous forest form a uniform trophic group.