Brief Communication | Published:

Biodiversity hotspots

Rediscovery of the world's leggiest animal

Nature volume 441, page 707 (08 June 2006) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The millipede species Illacme plenipes comes the closest to having its namesake's mythical 1,000 legs — individuals can bear up to 750 legs1. Here we record the rediscovery of this extremely rare species, which has not been reported since its original description1 some 80 years ago, at a tiny locality of 0.8 km2 in San Benito County, California. Because of the rarity and narrow geographical range of this delicate species, its fragile habitat must be protected at all costs.

This ancient animal, found only in a tiny stretch of California, is close to being a true millipede.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina 27858, USA

    • Paul E. Marek
    •  & Jason E. Bond

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul E. Marek.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Figure 1

    Plates 1-3, Scanning electron micrographs of male Illacme plenipes specimen. Specimens were air dried, sputter coated with gold, and viewed with an FEI Quanta 200 Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope.

Videos

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Movie

    First ever live video recorded for I. plenipes. A female specimen with 170 segments and 662 legs. Video footage was recorded with a Nikon Coolpix 995 digital camera attached to a Leica 12.5 Stereomicroscope.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/441707a

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