On December 17th, 2021, researchers located in Australia found the first true millipede. The millipede was discovered in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia, an area known for mining.
This discovery is very important for the average millipede has no more than 750 legs, but the recent discovery of the Eumilipes persephone millipedes proved that it is possible to have more than 800 legs. According to Tree Hugger, eight of the millipedes were discovered in three different drill holes in troglofauna traps. Troglofauna are tiny cave-dwelling animals that live in subterranean environments. The millipedes were reportedly found about 60 meters (nearly 200 feet) underground in a drill hole that was originally made for mineral exploration.
Eumilipes persephone was 0.95 millimeters wide and 95.7 millimeters long, almost as long as the average credit card. It was named Eumilipes persephone by researchers because of the lack of eyes of pigment it had. It had a “super elongated body” according to Treehugger. It has 330 segments in its body, a cone-shaped head with large antennae, and a beak to help with eating.
The research team then realized that this was no ordinary millipede, but a Eumilipes peresephone. “As soon as I saw the animal in the lab, I realized that it was potentially longer, and had more legs, than the leggiest species on record so far. It was, however, only much later that we found out that it belonged to a different order to the other really long species, and that the two species are both adapted to subterranean life, in a typical case of convergent evolution,” said Bruno Bazzat.
Even though millipedes have lived on earth for over 400 million years, researchers still don’t know a lot about these small creatures, but with the new 1,306-legged find, researchers are able to have more information and opportunities to learn more about these animals. Marek on Treehugger says, “This is a fascinating discovery because Eumillipes persephone is a new record-setting species.”