Help Confirming Rare Washington State USA Millipede Leschius mcalisteri

Hi folks, I believe that I may have found the first observation of a millipede species since the species was first discovered 20 years ago, and in a new locale, but am having trouble finding anyone who can help with the identification.

I believe I located a Leschius mcalisteri specimen, which I documented here:
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/223204214

Does anyone have suggestions on how to get confirmation? I emailed the researchers in the initial description, however they would both be in their 80s and I am not sure if they are still actively responding to emails. I also tried to report it to the state of WA, but there was no way to report a Myriapod of greatest conservation need (it is classified as such) and have not gotten a call back from Fish and Wildlife.

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Hmm, it does at least look a bit like a Chordeumatid, but these things are often very challenging to identify, even with a specimen.

Try contacting the American Myriapod and Isopod Group:
https://www.americanisopodsmyriapods.com/home
americanisomyriagroup@gmail.com

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Thank you! I will forward it off to them as well

I just heard back from WIlliam SHear (the describing biologist) who confirmed that it is somewhat challenging to impossible to definitively identify without examining the male genitalia, but did offer to try to identify if I am able to collect and send him a sample specimen.

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That’s the sort of response I would expect tbh. Just make sure the park is ok for you to collect. Collect a number (but not a vast number) if you can. I would hazard a guess that females are completely unidentifiable, so you want to have more of a chance to catch a male. In many millipede species the males are smaller, but not always: so aim for a range of sizes.

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Thank you for the tips, I will check with the parks dept. and make sure.

Also, yes, you are correct, the only way to make a definitive identification is via a male specimen

Am I the only one who is uncomfortable with

and

in the same thread?

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I think it’s a fair question. With “obscure” soil-dwelling invertebrates, it’s likely that they’re hard to detect and identify rather than having such a small local population that collection would affect it. However, I would want to confirm that there are plenty of them at the locale before collecting any, and not collect every individual I find. If it’s a listed species a license might be needed to collect.

There are conservation benefits of confirming the identification, so this is not to oppose collection, just to encourage doing so in an ethical and legal way.

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Very much agree, if there is not a sizable population that I am able to find, I will be collecting exactly zero

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