Beacon Transcript – A millipede with an astounding number of 414 legs and other natural enhancements was found in a Californian cave.
The newly discovered species was found after a number of expeditions held in between the 2002-2004 and 2006-2009 time period in the Lange Cave marble cavern located in the Californian-based Sequoia National Park and the research on the current specimen has been published in the ZooKeys journal.
The samples of the astounding number of legs millipede were then sent to two invertebrates specialists, Virginia Tech’s Paul Marek and Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia’s William Shear.
As the two examined the specimens, they determined that the millipede almost lived up to its name as it was determined to have 414 legs.
The species’ name comes from the Italian mille piedi, which literally means a thousand feet, and although this particular millipede has not reached that number, it still is the second leggiest exemplary ever to be found.
The biggest number of legs to ever be registered on a living organism belongs to the illacme plenipes, and had a total of 750 legs.
The newly discovered specimen has been categorized in the same species, the genus illacme, which features the animals with the biggest numbers of legs ever found.
As a second species pertaining to the genus came as a surprise, its name was elected to be Illacme tobini, after Ben Tobin.
Ben Tobin is the Grand Canyon National Park’s cave specialist that has conducted the Lange cave surveys and led the study of the new millipede species.
The single Illacme tobini was a 0.8 inches long male specimen. As there are no currently discovered female versions of this specific millipede, the scientists do not know how it would look but have managed to point out a possible reproduction means.
It has been noted that the millipede, besides its 414 legs, also seems to exhibit 4 gonopods. The gonopods are the millipede version of a male reproductive organ, and it would seem that this specimen, and probably the species, has transformed its ninth and tenth pair of legs into such a reproductive organ.
Besides its astounding number of legs, the millipede could also boast with a number of 200 pores that probably secreted an unknown type of compound chemical that protected the invertebrate from potential attackers.
Although several other expeditions have been conducted in order to find other specimens, this is the only one to have as yet been found as the explorations both in and outside the designated area failed to return favorable results
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