Giant millipedes are one of the major groups of arthropods involved in the breakdown of organic matter and confined to tropical biomes. A review of giant millipedes from historical reports and new field data was carried out to assess distribution and diversity patterns in Cameroonian rainforest, while conservation status of endemic species was evaluated for the first-time using IUCN red list criteria and categories. Fourteen species were identified from Cameroon fauna. Of these, nine were endemic (64 %) while five species have been introduced (36 %). Recently, two species were added to the known fauna of Cameroon. Of the extant endemic species, Telodeinopus canaliculatus has a wide distribution and Spirostreptus crenulatus was restricted to a single region. Based on IUCN Red List criteria, six species (60 %) are considered extinct in their distribution range and in surrounding localities, one species (10 %) is endangered, two species (20 %) are vulnerable and one species (10 %) is of least concern. Our findings represent a substantial contribution of the knowledge of the giant African millipedes. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop conservation measures for the giant millipedes that occur in Cameroon and red list those that are under serious threat.
Keywords: giant millipedes, Spiropolidae, Spirostreptidae, native species, anthropogenic pressure