Thursday, June 08, 2006

An animal with a lot of soul

World's leggiest animal marches out of the past
(Filed: 08/06/2006)

Eight decades after it was thought to have become extinct, scientists have reported the rediscovery of the world's leggiest animal.
Illacme plenipes, Latin for "the acme of plentiful feet", has up to 750 legs.The species has been spotted in a tiny patch of San Benito County, California, the first time it had been seen since 1926, report Mr Paul Marek and Dr Jason Bond of East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina in the journal Nature.
Although there are 10,000 known millipede species, none actually possesses the mythical 1,000 legs.
Females definitely wear the (presumably rather complicated) trousers in this species: the three adult females described here each have more than 660 legs, compared with between 318 and 402 for the four adult males and fewer for the five juveniles.
The variation may be because these creatures continue to add to their collection of legs even after reaching sexual maturity, as they grow new segments on their bodies.
Daily Telgraph


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