Vanessa Schendel, M.Sc. (Alumna)

The University of Queensland
Queensland Brain Institute


The ventral nerve cord of the centipede Lithobius forficatus

The phylogenetic position of Myriapoda within arthropods has been controversially discussed for decades and a consensus is still in debate. Characteristics of nervous systems have in the past been compared between arthropod taxa and successfully used to construct or support hypothesis about phylogenetic relationships. In the ventral nerve cord of many arthropod taxa, individually identifiable neurons have been reported. Comparisons of these neurons have contributed new arguments in the discussion on arthropod phylogeny (and favored the Tetraconata hypothesis). However, not many species have been investigated on individually identifiable neurons, with an especially big gap within the Myriapoda. In my master’s thesis I investigate the ventral nerve cord of the centipede Lithobius forficatus (Myriapoda: Chilopoda). Therefore I use classical histology, immunohistochemical experiments with different transmitter systems combined with confocal laser-scanning microscopy, backfilling with neuronal tracers, as well as X-ray micro-computed tomography.

Dissected ventral nerve cord of Lithobius forficatus (Myriapoda: Chilopoda)


[4] Kenning M, Schendel V, Müller CHG, Sombke A(2019) Comparative morphology of ultimate and walking legs in the centipede Lithobius forficatus (Myriapoda) with functional implications. Zoological Letters 5:3 Open Access

[3] Schendel V, Kenning M, Sombke A (accepted) A comparative analysis of the ventral nerve cord of Lithobius forficatus (Lithobiomorpha): morphology, neuroanatomy, and individually identifiable neurons. Arthropod Systematics & Phylogeny.

[2] Schendel V, Junghanns A, Bilde T, Uhl G (in press) Comparative female genital morphology in Stegodyphus spiders (Araneae: Eresidae).Zoologischer Anzeiger. Link

[1] Altewischer A, Ulrike Buschewski U, Ehrke C, Fröhlich J, Gärtner A, Giese P, Günter F, Heitmann N, Hestermann M, Hoffmann H, Kleinschmidt F, Kniepkamp B, Linke W, Mayland-Quellhorst T, Pape J, Peterson T, Schendel V, Schwieger S,Wadenstorfer A, Fischer K (2015) Habitat preferences of the Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra) in north-eastern Germany. Acta Ornithologica 50(1):1-10. Link

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