13 Lesser-Known Millipede Facts

13 Lesser-Known Millipede Facts - Animals & Plants - News

13 Lesser-Known Millipede Facts

Exploring the Fascinating World of Millipedes: From Curling Coils to Taylor Swift’s New Species

Millipedes are among the oldest known land animals, with fossil evidence dating back 450 million years ago. They belong to the Myriapoda subphylum and include centipedes and other multi-legged creatures. Despite their many legs, millipedes are not dangerous to humans but can be nuisances as household or garden pests.

Lesser-Known Millipede Facts

* A new millipede species was named after Taylor Swift: Nannaria swiftae or Swift twisted-claw millipede.
* Millipedes are legless larvae that molt and gain segments before developing their first set of legs. Some species can have over 1,000 legs.
* In 2013, a train in Western Australia crashed due to too many squashed millipedes on the tracks, resulting in reduced friction and an accident.
* The pink dragon millipede (Desmoxystes purpurosea) releases hydrogen cyanide from its glands to protect itself from predators and can act as a suitable insecticide when rubbed into lemurs’ fur.
* The Eumillipes persephone millipede species, discovered in 2020 with over 1,300 legs, holds the record for the most number of legs.
* Male millipedes have unique “mating legs” called gonopods that deposit spermatophores during copulation with females. Copulation often occurs with partners facing each other.
* Some male millipedes “sing” or walk on the backs of females during mating attempts, which can be a tactic to attract their partners.

Interesting Millipede Facts

1. Train crashes were not the only unusual occurrences involving millipedes: In Tanzania, the wandering leg sausage (Crurifarcimen vagans) is endemic in the Usambara Mountains and can grow up to 16 centimeters long.
2. Scientists observed that hornbills use crushed millipedes as nest liners, possibly due to their toxic properties that help keep away mites and other infestations.
3. During the mating season, male millipedes exhibit unique behaviors such as singing or walking on female backs to attract their partners. Copulation often occurs with partners facing each other.
4. Some brightly colored millipede species are toxic, acting as a warning for potential predators.
5. Historically, millipedes could have grown significantly larger in the past, reaching lengths of up to 8 feet (nearly 1.6 meters).

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