Navigation Links
The leggiest animal on Earth lives in the outskirts of Silicon Valley
Date:11/14/2012

The leggiest animal in the world, the millipede lllacme plenipes, was re-discovered several years ago in California by Paul Marek. Now, Marek and his colleagues provide further details of the surprisingly complex anatomy of this diminutive creature and its extreme rarity, limited to a handful of spots just south of San Francisco. More details about the species and its biology can be read in an article that was recently published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Millipedes have the most legs of any animal group. From their ancestors with just one pair of legs per body segment, millipedes evolved two pairs (four total) through segmental fusion. This coalescence of segments happened deep in the evolutionary history of millipedes, more than 400 million years ago. Four legs provide more thrust on a per segment basis, which benefits millipedes to help them burrow underground--e.g., to escape predators or access new resources. Those individuals with a coalescence of segments and hence a better burrowing ability, were able to persist in this early primordial ecosystem.

The most noticeable thing about millipedes are their number of legs, which lined up along their bodysides step in synchronous "metachronal waves". The acme of legginess in millipedes, and all animals for that matter, is the Californian species Illacme plenipes (literally meaning "in highest fulfillment of feet"). The females have up to an astounding 750 legs, outclassing the males who only have a maximum leg count of 562. The proliferation of legs may be an adaptation for its lifestyle spent burrowing underground or (based on the presence of features like legs with bifurcate claws and other traits known to be associated with rock-climbing in millipedes) enable it to cling tightly to the sandstone boulders found exclusively associated with the species in its habitat

"This relict species is the only representative of its family in the Western Hemisphere. Its closest presumed relative, Nematozonium filum, lives in South Africa and this early relationship was established more than 200 million years ago when the continents coalesced in the landmass Pangaea", said the lead author Dr Paul Marek, from the University of Arizona.

Not only is this species the leggiest animal known on the planet, it also has surprising anatomical features: body hairs that produce silk, a jagged and scaly translucent exoskeleton, and comparatively massive (given its diminutive size) antennae that are used to feel its way through the dark because it lacks eyes. Its mouth, unlike other millipedes that chew with developed grinding mouthparts, is rudimentary and fused into structures that are probably used for piercing and sucking plant or fungal tissues.

This rare and ancient-looking creature's home is California, on the outskirts of Silicon Valley. The species is exceedingly scarce and limited to just a single tiny area near San Juan Bautista, just east of the San Andreas Fault. Based on the known environmental conditions where it lives, the species' probable distribution elsewhere in California was inferred. Yet still restricted to a small geographical range, the analysis indicated other areas of suitability limited to the terrestrial areas on the edge of Monterey Bay eastward to San Juan Bautista and throughout the Salinas Valley. What's unique about this area, and seems to be correlated with the model's area of highest suitability, is the thick layer of fog that accumulates in the area--like soup in a deep bowl. The fog and the species' unique set of features in its habitat (oak forests, sandstone boulders, and fine sandy soil) make this area a special place and certainly deserving of attention as the home of this rare and superlative beast.


'/>"/>
Contact: Dr. Paul Marek
paulemarek@gmail.com
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Parkinsons disease stopped in animal model
2. Study suggests why some animals live longer
3. Are we really a nation of animal lovers?
4. NOAA discovers way to detect low-level exposure to seafood toxin in marine animals
5. China poised to accept first-ever non-animal test method for cosmetics
6. Elephant seal tracking reveals hidden lives of deep-diving animals
7. Deep sea animals stowaway on submarines and reach new territory
8. T cells hunt parasites like animal predators seek prey, a Penn Vet-Penn Physics study reveals
9. Animal reservoir mystery solved
10. WALTHAM® demonstrates commitment to scientific dialogue and exchange at international human animal interaction conference
11. Environmental concerns increasing infectious disease in amphibians, other animals
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
The leggiest animal on Earth lives in the outskirts of Silicon Valley
(Date:5/16/2017)... May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ... age and identity verification solutions, announced today they will ... 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, in ... International Trade Center. Identity impacts the ... in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... 2017 The global military biometrics ... marked by the presence of several large global players. ... five major players - 3M Cogent, NEC Corporation, M2SYS ... nearly 61% of the global military biometric market in ... global military biometrics market boast global presence, which has ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... , April 13, 2017 According to a new ... Authentication, Identity Analytics, Identity Administration, and Authorization), Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, ... IAM Market is expected to grow from USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 ... (CAGR) of 17.3%. ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/16/2017)... , ... July 16, 2017 , ... ... and analytical instruments announced the launch of its new line of Rocking and ... rocking and waving shaker models (both analog and digital) for laboratory applications in ...
(Date:7/14/2017)... ... July 14, 2017 , ... ... company . Sonic Manufacturing Technologies has installed a solar system on its roof ... three-year period,” the President of Sonic, Kenneth Raab stated. The company’s proud history ...
(Date:7/14/2017)... Denville, USA/ Martinsried, Germany (PRWEB) , ... July ... ... a newly developed standardized solution for sample preparation of proteins to clean peptides ... the Diagenode Bioruptor® sonication system. , The PreOmics iST Kit is based ...
(Date:7/13/2017)... ... July 13, 2017 , ... In’Tech Medical SAS ... announced today the completion of a major transaction with Eurazeo PME. The reputable ... growth. The alliance fuels In’Tech Medical’s service offerings while leveraging the company’s manufacturing ...
Breaking Biology Technology: