Polydesmida: Gasterogramma


The eight species of Gasterogramma are all H+20 Tasmanian endemics. They are mainly forest-dwelling, burrowing millipedes which are more likely to be found in the soil than in leaf litter or rotting wood. Adults are up to 20 mm long, and colour in different species ranges from pinkish white to dark, mottled purple-brown. The same colour variation is found in the one widespread species G. psi, which is also the only Gasterogramma with a 'harlequin' pattern of large dark lateral spots on a light background (below, right). Several of the pink-purple species have a very strong-smelling defensive secretion, earning them the nickname 'stinky pinkies'. The seven Gasterogramma species other than G. psi have small ranges, so check the maps first to help with identification. However, to positively identify these millipedes to species you need to examine the gonopods of mature males.


The genus Gasterogramma is almost entirely confined to those parts of Tasmania with an annual rainfall of at least 1000 mm, but all Gasterogramma species seem to tolerate habitat disturbance. G. psi, G. rusticum and G. wynyardense are abundant in Pinus radiata plantations, and G. austrinum is abundant in eucalypt regrowth arising from clearfall-and-burn silviculture.

Bonham et al. (2002), Jeekel (1982b), Mesibov (1993b, 1997b, 1998b, 1999, 2003b, 2005a), Mesibov et al. (1995)

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Tasmania mapaustrinum     gonopodsaustrinum

G. austrinum Mesibov, 2003

Tasmania mapextremum     gonopodsextremum

G. extremum Mesibov, 2003





Tasmania mapimber     gonopodsimber

G. imber Mesibov, 2003

Tasmania mapplomleyi     gonopodsplomleyi

G. plomleyi Mesibov, 2003


Note: The L-shaped gonopod components in the G.imber image have spread apart as a result of drying. In live and alcohol-preserved specimens these components are touching and parallel.






Tasmania mappsi     gonopodspsi

G. psi Jeekel, 1982

Tasmania maprusticum     gonopodsrusticum

G. rusticum Mesibov, 2003





Tasmania maptarkinense     gonopodstarkinense

G. tarkinense Mesibov, 2003

Tasmania mapwynyardense     gonopodswynyardense

G. wynyardense Mesibov, 2003