Description: In this webinar, Dr. Jackson Means of the Virginia Museum of Natural History (VMNH) will introduce audience members to the often overlooked world of the Myriapoda (millipedes, centipedes, and relatives). Dr. Means will discuss what exactly myriapods are, their role in the ecosystem, and why they are so diverse (>16,000 species; about as many as all bird and mammal species combined). He will also show off some of the more impressive specimens in the VMNH collections, and explain why the museum collection has become one of the largest and most important collections in the world for myriapod research. And of course the webinar would not be complete without a run down of the many bizarre and beautiful myriapods which can be found throughout Virginia.
Presenter: Dr. Jackson Means is an entomologist and myriapodologist who specializes on the taxonomy and systematics of Diplopoda, with a focus on the brightly colored cherry millipedes (order Polydesmida, family Xystodesmidae) found in Appalachia and Mexico, and the highly diverse Central and South American and African family Chelodesmidae. He earned a PhD in entomology from Virginia Tech in 2018, and has continued to work on the evolutionary relationships within the Polydesmida and the description of new species of Xystodesmidae. Dr. Means began work on curation of the millipede collection at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in early 2020, and was hired on full time as the museum’s Myriapodologist in 2021. In addition to his responsibilities for curating and cataloguing specimens from the museum's myriapod holdings - one of North America’s premiere myriapod collections, Dr. Means conducts primary research on millipede taxonomy, systematics, and natural history, as well as collects, preserves, identifies, and curates specimens. Dr. Means has authored multiple peer-reviewed papers on millipede taxonomy, systematics, molecular biology, and natural history, and described over 60 species of millipedes.
Dr. Means is always excited for the opportunity to collect millipedes on private land, which is some of the least explored habitat in the Appalachians. If you own property and would like to know what millipede species are there, feel free to reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will be happy to come out and collect specimens to add to the collection at VMNH!Host:
Michelle Prysby, Virginia Master Naturalist Program Director
Zoom Recording ID: 87885936067
Meeting Time: 2022-10-20 03:40:00pm