First millipede with more than 1,000 legs discovered

First millipede with more than 1,000 legs discovered
A female Eumillipes persephone with 330 segments and 1,306 legs. Credit: The first true millipede—1,306 legs long, Paul E. Marek, Bruno A. Buzatto, William A. Shear, Jackson C. Means, Dennis G. Black, Mark S. Harvey, Juanita Rodriguez, Scientific Reports.

The discovery of the first millipede with more than 1,000 legs is reported in Scientific Reports this week. Prior to this, no millipede had been found with more than 750 legs.

Paul Marek and colleagues discovered the millipede 60 meters underground in a drill hole created for in the mining area of the Eastern Goldfields Province of Australia. It has 1,306 —more than any other animal—and belongs to a that has been named Eumillipes persephone. The millipede's name derives from the Greek word eu- (true), the Latin words mille (thousand) and pes (foot), and references the Greek goddess of the underworld, Persephone. The authors measured four members of the new species and found that they have long, thread-like bodies consisting of up to 330 segments and are up to 0.95mm wide and 95.7mm long. They are eyeless, have short legs, and cone-shaped heads with antennae and a beak.

Analysis of the relationships between species suggests that E. persephone is distantly related to the previous record holder for the greatest number of legs—the Californian species, Illacme plenipes. The authors suggest that the large number of segments and legs that have evolved in both may allow them to generate pushing forces that enable them to move through narrow openings in the soil habitats they live in.

First millipede with more than 1,000 legs discovered
A dorsal view of head and ventral view of gonopods of a male Eumillipes persephone. Credit: The first true millipede—1,306 legs long, Paul E. Marek, Bruno A. Buzatto, William A. Shear, Jackson C. Means, Dennis G. Black, Mark S. Harvey, Juanita Rodriguez, Scientific Reports.

The findings highlight the biodiversity found within the Eastern Goldfields Province. To minimize the impact of mining in this region on E. persephone, the authors advise that efforts should be made to conserve its underground habitat.

First millipede with more than 1,000 legs discovered
A ventral view of the legs of a male Eumillipes persephone. Credit: The first true millipede—1,306 legs long, Paul E. Marek, Bruno A. Buzatto, William A. Shear, Jackson C. Means, Dennis G. Black, Mark S. Harvey, Juanita Rodriguez, Scientific Reports.

More information: Paul Marek, The first true millipede—1306 legs long, Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-02447-0. www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-02447-0

Journal information: Scientific Reports

Citation: First millipede with more than 1,000 legs discovered (2021, December 16) retrieved 28 May 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2021-12-millipede-legs.html
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