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Abstract

Abstract

New insights into the anatomy, systematics, and biogeography of centipedes have put these predatory terrestrial arthropods at the forefront of evolutionary studies. Centipedes have also played a pivotal role in understanding high-level arthropod relationships. Their deep evolutionary history, with a fossil record spanning 420 million years, explains their current worldwide distribution. Recent analyses of combined morphological and molecular data provide a stable phylogeny that underpins evolutionary interpretations of their biology. The centipede trunk, with its first pair of legs modified into a venom-delivering organ followed by 15 to 191 leg pairs, is a focus of arthropod segmentation studies. Gene expression studies and phylogenetics shed light on key questions in evolutionary developmental biology concerning the often group-specific fixed number of trunk segments, how some centipedes add segments after hatching whereas others hatch with the complete segment count, the addition of segments through evolution, and the invariably odd number of leg-bearing trunk segments.

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/content/journals/10.1146/annurev.ento.52.110405.091326
2007-01-07
2024-06-13
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  • Article Type: Review Article
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