When I saw the first images of these on the forum I half expected it to be some Ligidium
or something closely related. The way the uropods (tail appendages) are constructed, with the base clearly surpassing the telson and the endo- and exopods of unequal length, together with the relatively large eyes and the fact that none of the images seem to show clearly defined articles in the antennal flagellum all got me of on that track.
So I was a little surprised when Mercury mentioned Burmoniscus
in this reply
. I had never even heard of the genus and somewhat surprised that these would be Philosciidae at all. But after looking some more at the images and surfing the net it seems to fit better.
For example the eyes are murky large patches on many images, but on the second image above I can finally clearly see that it is made up of rather large (and few) elements. The eyes on Ligidium
are constructed of many more and smaller units. Also, endo- and exopods seem to branch off at about the same spot (at the end of the base), whereas on Ligidium
-ish animals the base itself is usually branched with the endopod branching off at a lower point.
So yes, these are probably Philosciidae after all. The other "issue" I had - being unable to determine if the flagellum has 3 articles or more like 10+ does not bother me so much any more, as some of the Philosciidae I know have very thin an very hairy antennae that make it almost impossible to distinguish the single articles on all but the best of images.
Interesting for me to see these woodlice on the forum and the other images on the Internet do seem to suggest these might well be Burmoniscus
, even if one has always got to be careful as there are many, many images of misidentified woodlice on the Internet and taking these for granted will only contribute to confusion and continuation of erroneous info, so I generally prefer to confirm Internet photo IDs by comparing to more serious publications.
Long story short: I cannot help with these (yet) as I've just seen them for the first time here. I'll be trying to find more documentation when I have a chance to travel to a entomological library next (all are more than 200km away from where I live).
For the moment I've only found this summary:
Li Li (2003) Hong Kong's Isopods. In: Morton, Brian (ed.) Perspectives on marine environmental change in Hong Kong and Southern China, 1977-2001: proceedings of an International Workshop Reunion Conference, Hong Kong, 21-26 October 2001, pp.137-166. HK: Hong Kong University Press. ISBN:9622096417 or:9789622096417.
- Checklist p.139
; Oniscidea p.150
While that contains no IDing info it does give us a first impression of the range of possibilities that merit further examination. One note however: The excellent bibliography
by Schmalfuss states for some of the publications that Li has referenced for this summary that the identifications still require checking, so even in this checklist there might be an error/misID or two.
One other publication that should be very helpful is this:
Kwon, D.; Taiti, S. (1993) Terrestrial Isopoda (Crustacea) from southern China, Macao and Hong Kong. – Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde, Serie A, Vol.490, 83pp./figs
This should contain most of the IDing info and figs that are needed to get a good start with the HK woodlice. Unfortunately I cannot find it online. I've written the museum in Stuttgart to ask if they still have it, but I've only limited hope for that.
Anyway, going by Li these Philosciidae should be considered:
- Burmoniscus sp.
- Burmoniscus javanensis (Richardson, 1922) but Schmalfuss (2004) lists this species only for "Réunion; India; Indonesia; Malaysia; New Guinea; Taiwan."
- Burmoniscus mauritiensis (Taiti & Ferrara, 1983) - Schmalfuss: "Mauritius; China; Hong Kong; Korea; Hawaii."
- Burmoniscus okinawaensis (Nunomura, 1986) - Schmalfuss: "Southern China; Hong Kong; Japan; Hawaiian Islands."
- Leptophiloscia sp. Schmalfuss does not list a single Leptophiloscia for China. Three from Indonesia and one fron Japan.
- Littorophiloscia aldabrana Ferrara & Taiti, 1985 - Schmalfuss: "Aldabra Island; Hong Kong."
- Pseudotyphloscia alba (Dollfus, 1898) - "Schmalfuss: Southern China; Taiwan; Philippines; Indonesia."
Furthermore Schmalfuss lists Burmoniscus ocellatus
(Verhoeff, 1928) for "Southern China; Hong Kong; Taiwan." (maybe the "sp." in the list by Li??) and there are quite a few more species of Burmoniscus
with documented distributions such as "SW-China" or limited to for example Nanjing, Yunnan and/or Guangxi, as well as some extras from Taiwan and Japan.
For the genus Littorophiloscia
various other species are recorded for Taiwan, Korea, Japan etc. with some being listed as "Circumtropical" so there may well be others than
to be found in HK, but all Littorophiloscia
that I know have a very different habitus, so for the moment I'm assuming they're not really an option for the animals shown here.
is a monospecific genus with only P. alba
. I have no idea what it might look like (yet) but will try to find out.
Summarizing: Yes, Burmoniscus sp.
seems to be the best option even if I cannot yet totally exclude the other genera - but that is mostly because I just don't know the first thing about all those species. Just looking things up in a clearly insufficient amount of accessible documentation.
The Schmalfuss (2004?) referenced above I had linked before in some other topic, but I'll repeat here for completeness. It is the updated
PDF-version of this 2003 publication:
Schmalfuss, Helmut (2003) World catalog of terrestrial isopods (Isopoda, Oniscidea). - Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde, Serie A, Vol.654, 341pp.
[ Last edited by javaladybirds at 2011-1-1 00:33