For the last few weeks Roger and I have been prepping out the millipede that was found by Aaron Wood in Panama. It went from about fifty percent covered in matrix and 100 percent covered in butvar to fully uncovered and exposed! It took about a week and a half of scraping with a pin vice and dental picks to remove all the unwanted material. In the middle of it I was also pulled away from work by a family emergency which slowed down the preparation immensely. Together with the millipede from Florida the Panamanian specimen will the be foundation to my paper.
While working on the preparation we found that along most of the dorsal side of the millipede many of the leg attachments were still there, though most of the legs had been broken off. Along the end where we think the head might be many of the leg segments were still attached, though they easily broke off when the matrix was removed from around them. We are hoping that by using the air abrasive unit we will be able to more delicately remove the matrix from around the legs and preserve the segments in place.
This past Tuesday Roger and I went to the state Museum of Entomology in Gainesville to meet with Dr. G. B. Edwards in hopes that he could help narrow down the possible identifications for us. As can be seen in the photograph above neither specimen has very many, if any, diagnostic details preserved. Dr. Edwards was able to point us in the direction of a few families of millipedes but because his area of interest lies with jumping spiders (which are extremely interesting and colorful I might add), he was not able to help us identify the specimens more then that, though he did provide a name of a specialist who would likely be able to help us.
Hopefully within the next few weeks we will be able to take some more high quality images of the fully prepared millipedes and send them off to at least a few specialist who can help us get a better sense of what we might have.