Finally, scientists have discovered a millipede, which is not ashamed of its name, and actually has 1,000 legs.
Unique creatures have been found deep beneath Western Australia, boasting up to 1,306 legs. This is more than the few 750 paws previously recorded in millipedes and other animals.Newly named Eumillipes persephone And the former record holders, who were abandoned, probably both evolved seemingly excessive numbers of limbs to break through the narrow spaces of the soil. Researchers reported On December 16th Scientific Reports ..
E. Persephone Paul Marek, an entomologist and co-author of the findings at Virginia Tech, says that the underground environment is threatened by mining activities and conservation activities are important.
“These undiscovered fauna live in areas previously thought to be lifeless, but even in ecosystems we really rely on to screen for environmental toxins and filter water. There is, “he says. “Therefore, by studying the organisms that inhabit these ecosystems, we can not only protect the biodiversity of this planet, but also the environment.”
The term millipede literally means “thousand feet,” but Marek says most species actually have less than 100 legs. Arthropods have been around for over 400 million years, and some extinct members can reach up to 2 meters (6.6 feet) in length. Millipedes play an important role in the ecosystem by eating rotting organic matter.
The new species come from areas dotted with drill holes used to look for gold, nickel and other minerals. These holes also provide scientists with a portal to remote and unexplored environments. Bruno Buzzat and his colleagues at Macquarie University in Sydney and the University of Western Australia in Perth and his colleagues fed with rotten leaves to attract hungry invertebrates to find out what could crawl underground. I got down to the cup.
Researchers spy on a pale thread-like millipede when the cup was pulled out from a depth of 60 meters (about 200 feet) in August 2020. The team contacted millipede expert Marek, suspecting that the creatures were squeezing more than known species. After examining some specimens, Marek noticed that he was seeing a “true millipede.” He counted 1,306 legs germinating from 330 ring-shaped segments in female members of this species, and up to 818 legs and 208 rings in males (female arthropods more than males). Marek says it tends to be big.)
[Related: Glowing millipede genitalia give scientists a leg up in the lab ]
In addition to observing millipedes with a powerful scanning electron microscope, researchers E. Persephone And I compared the genome with that of other species. This will result in E. Persephone It was just a 750-legged distant relative Illacme Plenipes , Found in California. Findings show that hyperstretchers have evolved several times independently in the millipede, which thrives underground.
“Extra legs are converted into extra pushing force,” says Marek. “This, coupled with a highly expandable and compressible body, is surprisingly good at pushing into gaps.”
E. Persephone Named after Persephone, the goddess of Greek mythology who was taken to the underworld by Hades, the name points to many […]