Scientists in Western Australia have announced they have discovered the first ever true millipede. The record setting species was found during a subterranean environment impact assessment according to peer reviewed scientific reports.
A number of species have been referred to as millipedes in the past, the Latin word meaning a thousand feet and although many species have been given this name, this is the first true millipede.
The creature, which was found 60 metres underground in an area that is being mind, breaks all records for the number of legs having more than 1,000.
Named Eumillipes Persephone after the Greek goddess of the underworld, the worm has 1,306 legs breaking the previous record set by a species found in central California, Illacme Plenipes, which has up to 750 legs.
The worm differs from others in that it is composed of around 330 segments each with a double set of small legs and a cone-shaped head. The millipede lives below the ground and in complete darkness.
Dr. Juanita Rodriguez, one of the researchers and an insect expert, described how the millipede has likely evolved, growing its length to give it greater movement underground. “The more length you have, the more strength to propel forward,” she said.
While scientists have, so far, discovered more than 2,000 species of millipede in Australia, Rodriguez claimed that there could be as many as 4,000.
A fascinating story at Christmas time when many of us might be struggling to control our two legs, one can only wonder that species like the first ever true millipede are still out there waiting to be discovered.
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