The first millipede worm was reported to have been discovered with over 1,000 feet in Scientific Reports this week. Prior to this, millipedes had not been found to be more than 750 feet across.
Paul Marek and colleagues discovered the millipede 60 meters underground in a hole created for mineral prospecting in a mining area in the eastern Goldfields Province of Australia. It has 1,306 legs – more than any other animal – and belongs to a new species that has been named omelips persephone. The name millipede derives from the Greek word I- (correct), latin words Mile (in thousands) and Peace (ft), and refers to the Greek goddess of the underworld, Persephone. The authors measured four members of the new species and found that they had long, thread-like bodies consisting of up to 330 segments, up to 0.95 mm wide and 95.7 mm long. They are eyeless, short legs, and cone-shaped heads with antennae and beak.
The analysis of interspecies relationships indicates that E. Persephone Closely related to the previous record holder for the largest number of legs – the California millipede species, plenipes. The authors suggest that the large number of parts and legs that evolved in both species may allow them to generate thrust that enables them to move through narrow openings in the soil habitats in which they live.
The results highlight the biodiversity found in the Eastern Goldfield Province. To reduce the impact of mining in this area on Persephone, The authors advise that efforts should be made to conserve its underground habitat.
Reference: “The first true millipede – 1,306 legs long” By Paul E. Maric, Bruno A. Pozzato, William A. Sher, Jackson C. Maines, Dennis J. Black, Mark S. Harvey and Juanita Rodriguez, December 16, 2021, Scientific Reports.
DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-021-02447-0