New Species Of Millipede With 414 Legs Found In California Cave

Posted: Oct 24 2016, 10:48am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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New Species of Millipede with 414 Legs Found in California Cave
The new species (Illacme tobini) of extremely leggy millipede from a Sequoia National Park cave. Credit: Paul Marek, Virginia Tech
  • Novel Type of Millipede found in Californian Grotto

A novel type of millipede was recently found in a Californian grotto. It has many fine legs making it look to be quite an oddity of Nature.

Several spiders, pseudoscorpions and flies were found in a Californian cave. The investigators also found a tiny millipede that lay hidden away in a corner of the cave.

The Sequoia National Park was the site of the dark marble caves where this curious creature was discovered. This mysterious millipede was sent to diplopodologists for further examination.

They promptly sensed that it was an offshoot of a leggy animal, the Illacme plenipes. However, this new species has 414 legs instead of the 750 possessed by its relative.

Yet the strange anatomical features are the same for both species. Their bodies are guarded by 2000 poison glands. Also they have hairs that give off silk secretions and both possess 4 penile members.

The study concerning this species was published in a journal. The novel millipede is called Illacme tobini. It was named after the cave biologist Ben Tobin. He hailed from the National Park Service. The discoverers mentioned the species with great interest and in detail in the journal article.

One of them said that he would never have suspected that a second species related to the first one would be extant on the planet. This happens to be the leggiest of millipedes and it is indeed a wonder to behold with eyes wide open.

The closest relatives of the millipede live under huge sandstone boulders in California. It is almost a miracle to have found this species intact and whole.

Besides the extreme legginess of this species, its mouth parts are very absurdist in nature. Their functioning remains a conundrum. The 4 penile parts are actually legs that have undergone modification.

The bodies of these millipedes are covered in silk-secreting hair. There are also pairs of nozzles on the 100 or so segments of the long body of this millipede.

Each one of these segments happen to let loose spurts of a defense chemical of a noxious kind. Its exact nature also remains a mystery.

Therefore, this is a very strange and bizarre creature and will be studied on an in-depth basis in the future. Via a random exploration of the planet, we can save species from certain extinction. This is the lesson to take home from the discovery of this leggy millipede.

This study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

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