figureposted on 05.01.2012, 00:00 authored by Michael Jorgensen
"All species on Earth are part of a single family tree. Determining how different species are related is one of the interests of a systematic biologist. These relationships are traditionally inferred by similarities in anatomy, and more recently, genetic sequences. My graduate research entails a systematic study of millipedes. I am using genetic sequences and morphological traits to infer the phylogenetic relationships among species of the North American family Euryuridae. These species are essentially identical in appearance, differing only in sexual characteristics. The sperm transfer organs (gonopods) of male millipedes have traditionally been the main diagnostic character in species recognition. This image is of the right gonopod of a previously unknown species from Alabama, which I identified and formally described. I named the species Euryurus lechythanoictes, which is Greek for “bottle-opener,” describing the unique shape of the gonopods. This structure is about one millimeter long. This image was taken with the stereo electron microscope at the UIC Electron Microscopy Facility."