A new species of millipede has been discovered by Michelle Hamer in the Nkandla Forest in Zululand, south of Fugitives’ Drift. Michelle has chosen to name the millipede Doratogonus Rattrayi in honour of David Rattray.
This honour is particularly fitting as David had a deep interest in entomology – he held an Honours degree in Entomology from the Univeristy of Natal, Pietermaritzburg. He would also have been particularly pleased that this new entomological discovery was in Nkandla – David spent much time over the years exploring Nkandla and the Mome Gorge where King Cetshwayo is buried.
Below is an extract from Michelle Hamer’s paper regarding Doratogonus Rattrayi:-
Type material: Holotype: NMSA 21970, 1 male, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Nkandhla Forest, 28º43’38.592”S, 31º07’58.281”E, 1121 m asl, found in forest along dirt road, 19 November 2001, A. Armstrong & H. Murray. Paratypes: NMSA 21791, 1 male, 1 female, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Nkandhla Forest, 28º43’38.650”S, 31º08’00.155” E, 1121 m asl, 19 November 2001, A. Armstrong & H. Murray. NMSA 21792, 1 male, South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal, Nkandhla Forest, 28º44’44.639”S, 31º08’34.279”E, 1040 m asl, Forest, on trunk of Iphahla tree in forest, 21 November 2001, A. Armstrong & H. Murray.
Etymology: Named for David Rattray, world-renowned Ango-Zulu War historian, and promoter of the oral history tradition of the Zulu people, who through his story-telling inspired people of all ages and from all walks of life. Rattray was murdered at his home, Fugitive’s Drift, in January of 2007.
Diagnosis: Gonopods of D. rattrayi similar to D. avius Hamer, 2000 and D. major (Lawrence, 1965). These three species certainly closely related, sharing serrated process on the median margin of the anterior gonocoxal fold, dense, long setae covering distal region of the anterior gonocoxal fold, broad femoral process curved through 360º, and lamellate, folded proximal region of postfemoral process. In addition, all three species large-bodied, with yellow legs. Doratogonus rattrayi distinguished from other two species by serrated distal margin of femoral process, less curved postfemoral process, and longer, less curved apical, median spine on anterior gonocoxal fold.