Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Yellow-spotted Millipede

Harpaphe haydeniana
Not all Millipedes are gigantic like the big, 15in long African Millipedes. Today's animal is one of those Myriapods on the smaller side of the scale-- it doesn't get much bigger than 2in long!

The Yellow-spotted Millipede is found along the Pacific coast of North America. They are very important members of their ecosystem, as they help to break up leave litter and release nutrients.

As adults, have these Millipedes have predominantly black bodies with yellow patches that run along the sides. When full grown they have 20 body segments. Females have 31 pairs of legs, while males only have 30. The difference in number has to do with the placement of the males' reproductive organs.

Did you know that Yellow-spotted Millipedes have very few predators? Though they live in an area with lots of invertebrate-eating creatures, they remain very safe. This is because they have the ability to secrete Hydrogen Cyanide! The species is sometimes called the Almond-scented Millipede, due to Cyanide's almond-like smell.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : Western North America
Size : Length up to 2in (5cm)
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Superclass : Myriapoda -- Class : Diplopoda
Order : Polydesmida -- Family : Xystodesmidae -- Genus : Harpaphe -- Species : H. haydeniana

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