Millipede in Australia is first to actually have more than 1000 legs

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A millipede with 1306 legs has smashed the satellite grounds aft being discovered 60 metres underground successful Australia  

Life 16 December 2021

By Alice Klein

A ten-centimetre-long, yellow-brown pistillate  Eumillipes persephone millipede with 1306 legs

A 10-centimetre-long pistillate Eumillipes persephone millipede with 1306 legs

Paul Marek, Virginia Tech

A millipede with implicit 1300 legs has smashed the satellite grounds for the astir limbs, beating the erstwhile holder’s specified 750.

The connection millipede comes from the Latin words for 1000 and foot, but astir of them person a fewer 100 legs. The caller grounds holder is the archetypal to person much than 1000.

The taxon was recovered heavy underground successful the Goldfields portion of Western Australia.

“When I laid eyes connected the millipede, I thought, ‘Oh my god, this is highly long’,” says Bruno Buzatto astatine Bennelongia Environmental Consultants successful Perth, Western Australia.

Buzatto and his colleagues were surveying the area’s subterranean fauna to cheque for taxon that whitethorn beryllium susceptible to planned mining projects. The team lowered traps with baits down deep, constrictive holes – each astir 15 centimetres wide and up to 80 metres heavy – that had been drilled by mining companies looking for mineral deposits.

They near the traps for respective months to let creatures from the surrounding ungraded to crawl in, past pulled them up and took them to a laboratory to spot what was inside.

The squad collected 8 of the unusual-looking millipedes, mostly from a trap laid 60 metres down a drill hole. They sent them to Paul Marek, a millipede adept astatine Virginia Tech, who sequenced their DNA and studied them successful item nether an electron microscope.

The longest idiosyncratic – an big pistillate – was recovered to person 1306 legs, portion the shortest had 778. Millipedes gradually go longer and turn much legs implicit their lifetimes, truthful the longest was astir apt the oldest, says Buzatto. Future surveys whitethorn uncover older individuals with adjacent much legs, helium says.

DNA sequencing showed that the Australian millipede was a recently discovered species, which has been named Eumillipes persephone aft the Greek and Latin words for “true 1000 feet” and Persephone, the queen of the underworld successful Greek mythology.

The millipede is pale-coloured and thread-like, measuring 1 millimetre wide and up to 10 centimetres long. It has nary eyes, but ample antennae for feeling its mode astir and a beak for feeding.

The crushed it has truthful galore legs is astir apt to assistance it compression done constrictive gaps successful its underground environment, says Buzatto. “The much legs it has for pushing forward, the much spot it has to propulsion itself done gaps,” helium says.

Buzatto and his colleagues person returned to the aforesaid drill holes successful the Goldfields to effort to cod much of the millipedes, but person lone recovered 1 much truthful far. “It seems they’re beauteous peculiar and rare,” helium says.

The country is acceptable to beryllium turned into a vanadium mine, but Buzatto hopes the uncommon millipede volition past due to the fact that the excavation volition lone beryllium 40 metres deep. “These animals unrecorded overmuch deeper,” helium says.

Many different mysterious creatures are thought to beryllium lurking heavy underground successful Western Australia, which is 1 of the oldest onshore masses connected Earth. “In these surveys, 80 to 90 per cent of what we propulsion up from the drill holes are caller and undescribed,” says Buzatto. “We simply don’t person the clip to picture everything, truthful a batch of animals conscionable extremity up successful the depository with a small codification and a statement of wherever they were found, until an adept connected their peculiar household mightiness travel on 1 time and picture them.”

Journal reference: Scientific Reports, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-02447-0

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