Cryptops hortensis atlantis Pocock, 1891,

Lewis, John G. E., 2011, A review of the species in the genus Cryptops Leach, 1815 from the Old World related to Cryptops (Cryptops) hortensis (Donovan, 1810) (Chilopoda, Scolopendromorpha, International Journal of Myriapodology 4, pp. 11-50: 21-22

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Cryptops hortensis atlantis Pocock, 1891


Cryptops hortensis atlantis Pocock, 1891  Figs 45-54

Cryptops atlantis  Pocock, 1891 Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist [6] 8: 155, Pl. 12, fig. 12.

Cryptops hortensis atlantis  : Kraepelin, 1903 Mitt. Naturhist. Mus. Hamburg 20: 57.

Material examined.

BMNH. Holotype. Madeira: Grant, W. R. O. BMNH(E) # 20001 Chilo. 1891.3.8.10. Original label missing.


Length 20.5 mm. Without dark subcutaneous pigment. Cephalic plate with very short longitudinal sutures extending only a short way back from the bases of the antennae. Clypeus with a pair of post-antennal setae, 12 somewhat irregular clypeals and 9 prelabrals. Labral sidepieces not notched. Anterior margin of forcipular coxosternite barely protuberant, with 4 to 6 fine setae on each side on the anterior margin. Poison gland calyx cylindrical, situated mainly in posterior part of the tarsungulum. Posterior margin of sternite 21 slightly concave. Coxopleural pore field not extending to posterior margin, without setae. Prefemur of ultimate leg with ventral median longitudinal groove. Tibia with 15-17 well separated minute saw teeth, tarsus with 5-6 close set teeth. Pretarsal accessory spurs of legs 1-20 very small.


( Pocock’s (1891) data in parentheses where relevant).

Male (contains 3 spermatophores). Length 20.5 mm (21.5 mm). Colour reddish brown (antennae, head, first two and last two somites and anal legs ochraceous; rest of legs testaceous: rest of somites ochraceo-fuscous).

Antennnal articles 15[r]-12[d], article 1 with long and medium setae, 2 with in addition a few short setae, 3 intermediate, 4 with small setae and basal whorl of long and medium setae. Cephalic plate with extremely short weak oblique anterior paramedian sutures at bases of antennae. Tergite 1 overlying posterior margin of cephalic plate.

Clypeus with a pair of post-antennal setae, about 12 clypeals of varying size approximately forming an elongated triangle (Fig. 45). A row of 9 prelabral setae. Labrum not visible.

Anterior wall of forcipular coxosternite slightly convex on each side with 6 + 4 fine marginal setae (Fig. 46). Poison gland calyx situated in tibia and posterior part of tarsungulum, cylindrical and of moderate length (Figs 47, 48).

Tergite sutures not seen, paramedian sutures difficult to observe in this darkly pigmented specimen but apparently wanting on tergites 2 and 3, occupying anterior 75% on tergite 4, complete on 14, almost complete on 19 and 20. Very weak arcuate sutures on tergites 4 to 8. (The first three wholly without sulci, the fourth obsoletely sulcate posteriorly and laterally, the rest, except the last, with four sulci; two internal complete, two external incomplete and oblique, the oblique sulci almost obsolete on the seventeenth to twentieth tergites). Pocock’s (1891) terms internal complete and external incomplete and oblique sulci clearly referred to the paramedian and lateral crescentic sulci.

Detail of sternites 1 to 20 not observed (medially and longitudinally sulcate, the transverse sulcus scarcely perceptible). Sternite 21 with sides converging posteriorly and hind margin slightly concave (Fig. 49). Coxopleuron with relatively few pores (19-20) occupying anterior 70% of pore field. No setae in pore field and none between pore field and posterior margin which bears 6 or 7 setae.

Ultimate leg (Fig. 50) prefemur with spinous setae on ventral and posterior (median) surface, dorsal and lateral surfaces with a few setae. A glabrous ventromedia l groove. Femur with fewer spinous setae ventrally and medially but more fine setae especially distally. A poorly defined glabrous ventromedian strip. Tibia flattened dorsally, and in distal half with a few short fine setae dorsally and laterally and dense fine setae ventrally and medially: with 15 or 17 well-separated minute saw teeth on inferior edge of flattened medial surface (Fig. 51). The attendant setae parallel-sided and pointed (Fig. 52). Tarsus 1 bulbous distally with dense medium to long setae, with 5 or 6 close set saw teeth (Fig. 53), larger than those of the tibia and set on a pronounced hump. Tarsus 2 with a few scattered setae. Pretarsal claw simple, Pretarsal accessory spurs of legs 1-20 small (Fig. 54). The twentieth pair of this male with dense fine setae ventrally on prefemur, femur and tibia.


Madeira and possibly the Azores and the Canary Is.


Kraepelin (1903) stated that Cryptops atlantis  was differentiated from Cryptops hortensis  only by the large number of saw teeth on the femora of the ultimate legs and stated that in correspondence Pocock (1891) had said that he considered it only a variety of Cryptops hortensis  . Kraepelin (1903) accordingly listed it as Cryptops hortensis atlantis  . Confusingly, he stated that he had before him specimens from the Azores and the Canaries (presumably of what he considered atlantis) with 6-7 tibial and 1-3 tarsal saw teeth. He suggested that further work might allow the identification of geographically separated forms. Attems (1930) may have been referring to Kraepelin’s (1903) statement when he gave the distribution of Cryptops hortensis atlantis  as Madeira, Azores, Canaria, Tenerife. I regard these records as uncertain. Material is required from the Azores and the Canaries. Attems (1930) noted that there was also the var. hortensis from S. Miguel, Azores, with 5+3 saw teeth.

The differences in the number and type of the saw teeth between Cryptops hortensis atlantis  and Cryptops hortensis  are major and I consider them more than sufficient to return Cryptops atlantis  to full specific status. It is worth noting that Lewis (2010b) suggested that the characteristics of the saw teeth of the ultimate legs in Cryptops  may allow species recognition before paring takes place.