We investigated the distribution pattern of centipedes (Chilopoda) in four primeval forests of the western Carpathians, central Slovakia. The forests are located in two different mountain ranges (Kremnicke vrchy and Pol'ana Mountains), which are exposed on either the southern (Boky, Rohy) or northern slopes (Pol'ana, Badin). In these forests, the influence of coarse woody debris (CWD) on centipede distribution was studied, by distinguishing sampling sites on the forest floor, close to CWD (c-CWD) and distant from CWD (d-CWD). In total, we collected 2,706 individuals from 20 species of centipedes. Average species richness and number of individuals per forest ranged from 8 to 12 species/m2supercript stop and from 244 to 486 individuals/m(2). The oak forests on south facing slopes harboured several species, which did not occur in the more northern exposed fir-beech forests. Number of species as well as individuals, however, varied more within than between individual forests. Increase of species number and density was mainly caused by CWD and was more pronounced on the southern slopes (P < 0.001), characterized by high temperatures and low precipitation, than on the northern slopes (n.s. to P < 0.01), characterized by low temperatures and high precipitation. It was found that CWD did not generally increase (species) diversity.
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