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World’s first millipede with 1000-legs found in Western Australia

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Worlds first millipede with 1000 legs found in Western Australia

The first-ever millipede with more than 1,000 legs has been found in Western Australia. Insect haters are set to shudder at the possibility of science’s most recent discovery in Western Australia – a millipede with 1306 legs.

The species, which is the first “true” millipede, has 1,306 legs and was found up to 60 meters underground in a mining area in the Eastern Goldfields region of WA.

The world’s first “true” millipede has established the world record for the most legs ever documented, beating the past record holder by more than 500 limbs.

Analysts have named the new species Eumillipes Persephone, regarding the Greek goddess of the underworld, Persephone.

It breaks the past record set by Illacme plenipes, which is found in central California and has up to 750 legs.

Until now, the term “millipede” has truly been a case of false advertising.

Literally translating from the Latin Mille (thousand) and pes (foot), the “millipede” species with the most legs has up to this point just boasted 750.

A team of researchers found the millipede while leading a subterranean environmental effect appraisal.

Dr. Bruno Buzatto, a biologist at Bennelongia Environmental Consultants, portrayed the find as “incredibly lucky”.

“These animals were so unique,” Buzatto said. “As soon as I realized how long they were … I realized they had to be something completely different.”

The species has a long, thread-like body including up to 330 segments, with short legs and a cone-shaped head. Like different animals that live in constant darkness, it is blind and pale.

Dr. Juanita Rodriguez, a research collaborator, and CSIRO insect expert said the new species had likely developed its length for simplicity of movement underground.

“The more length you have, the more strength to propel forward,” she said. The millipede’s above 300 body segments would likewise give it a greater force for movement in rocky regions, for example, small crevices, she said.

Albeit the name millipede translates to 1,000 feet, none have at any point been found with more than 750 legs.

“We’ve been naming millipedes for centuries, but this discovery is particularly exciting because it’s a millipede in the truest sense of the word,” CSIRO Research Scientist, Dr. Juanita Rodriguez, said.

The critter was found by CSIRO researchers close to Norseman in Western Australia.

While the millipede takes the term creepy crawly to a whole new level, bushwalkers don’t need to stress a lot over finding the species since it lives underground.

Researchers found the bug by reviewing geological drill holes, as part of a study into the medicinal chemicals millipedes produce.

“This is important because many of these pathogens are resistant to current drugs, and we need new molecules to treat infections like golden staph and pneumonia,” Dr. Rodriguez said.

While top researchers from CSIRO’s National Insect Collection work hard to battle virulent diseases, a considerable lot of us actually have inquiries regarding how on earth they counted that multitude of legs.

In correlation, the Portuguese millipede – a common invasive species in Australia commonly found in high numbers after heavy rain – has around 25 segments, Rodriguez said. In 2013, a Portuguese millipede infestation was purportedly liable for a train crash in Perth.

Altogether, the team observed eight Eumillipes Persephone millipedes in three drill holes at depths somewhere in the range of 15 and 60 meters.

Rodriguez said it was astounding to find the new species so far underground. While a few millipedes live in caves, many are surface dwellers and separate organic matter, for example, leaf litter, she said.

Little is had some significant awareness of the new species. “It’s a good bet that they eat fungi,” Buzatto said.

A genetic investigation discovered that while Eumillipes Persephone has physical similarities to the past leg record holder in California, the two millipede species are just distantly related.

There are more than 2,000 known species of millipede in Australia, Rodriguez said, adding that the true number of species might be pretty much as high as 4,000.

“Few people realize… the large proportion of Australian biodiversity that is still undescribed, and therefore also the importance of taxonomists,” Buzatto said. “We essentially are driving species extinct probably quicker than we describe them.”

Rodriguez and her associates at CSIRO are additionally studying chemicals produced by Australian millipedes. “We’re testing them to see if they have the potential for being antimicrobials against the pathogens that have a lot of antimicrobial resistance.”

Millipedes vary from centipedes in that they have two pairs of legs on most body segments, while centipedes just have one.

Investigation into the new millipede was published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

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