Botswana: first stamps with millipedes and centipedes
The Botswana Post Office has designed a series of postal stamps on the country's myriapods.
Botswana Post is producing a series of stamps on the country's invertebrates: spiders, molluscs and scorpions have had stamps created in their honour.
For the creation of stamps dedicated to myriapods, Botswana Post contacted Didier Van den Spiegel, researcher at the AfricaMuseum and specialist in African myriapods.
‘Myriapods play an important role in the ecosystem: some species decompose organic matter, while others are major predators’, explains the researcher.
Unfortunately, few specialists have any knowledge of African species. ‘We know very little about the myriapods of Botswana’, says Van den Spiegel. ‘My role was to provide scientific support in the project.’
The four species selected to be featured on the stamps are:
- the Giant African millipede (Archispirostreptus gigas), which can grow to over 30 cm in length;
- the Giant Black millipede (Spirostreptus heros), another African giant which, like the Giant African millipede, is a detritivores species that feeds on decaying organic matter;
- the Red-headed Centipede (Scolopendra morsitans), a large generalist predator, which kills its prey with a neurotoxic venom;
- the African Giant Centipede (Ethmostigmus trigonopodus), another predatory species that occurs throughout Africa.