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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The geographic distribution of Protura (Arthropoda: Hexapoda): a review


Protura is a poorly known class of Hexapoda represented by more than 800 species belonging to 77 genera worldwide. They are tiny soil organisms with low dispersal ability, mainly attributable to water and human-mediated transfer. The analysis of biogeography of Protura is hindered by the lack of knowledge on their natural history, systematics and distribution. In order to provide a starting point for future more detailed investigations, we reviewed the available literature on their geographic distribution, making a distinction between continental and insular areas. A general overview based on Wallace’s biogeographic regionalization is outlined, highlighting a maximum of known richness and endemism at the genus level in the Palearctic region, and particularly within its eastern part. Some detailed examples of disjunct distribution and their interpretation based on vicariance or dispersal events are given.

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