Beneath The City Lights: LA Has A New Species Of Millipede, It's Blind, Glassy And Has 486 Legs
Los Angeles, known for its bustling urban setting and flashy charm, hides a stunning discovery beneath its streets that amazes everyone. A new millipede species has emerged from the depths with distinct traits that differentiate it from other known species. This enigmatic organism has attracted the attention of the scientific community and the general public because of its remarkable glassy appearance, utter blindness, and incredible 486 legs.
Naturalists discovered the small insect barely beneath at a Southern California hiking area near a motorway, a Starbucks, and an Oakley sunglasses store. It's translucent and twisted like a jellyfish tentacle, about the length of a paperclip but as thin as pencil lead. The monster burrows four inches down, secretes strange chemicals, and is blind, relying on hornlike antennae projecting from its head to navigate.
The millipede, with its 486 legs and helmet-like head, resembles a creature from a Hollywood monster movie under a microscope.
Los Angeles 'Invaded' By A New Species Of Millipede: It's Blind And Glassy And Has 486 Legs
"It just goes to show that there's this undiscovered planet underground," Marek continued.
"It's amazing to think these millipedes are crawling in the inner cracks and crevices between little pieces of rock below our feet in Los Angeles," said Virginia Polytechnic Institute entomologist Paul Marek. He was a member of a study team that comprised researchers from West Virginia University and the University of California, Berkeley.
Their findings on Illacme socal were published in the journal ZooKeys on June 21. Los Angeles Thread Millipede is the common name for this species. It joins previous millipedes discovered in the state, including one with the most legs of any species ever documented - a whopping 750 limbs.
It is appropriately named Illacme plenipes, which means "in highest fulfilment of feet." It was thought to be the leggiest organism on the planet until 2021 when an Australian millipede with 1,306 legs was discovered in a small area of Northern California.
Brown thinks 20,000 kinds of insects, both discovered and unknown, inhabit Los Angeles alone after leading a four-year research effort called BioSCAN, which put insect traps across backyards throughout the city.
The Los Angeles Thread Millipede, according to Daniel Gluesenkamp, head of the California Institute for Biodiversity, who needed to be more engaged in the research, perfectly illustrates an undiscovered frontier.
"We need to be investing in local parks, and we need to be saving any little patch of wild land, even if it's surrounded by housing and parking lots," Gluesenkamp added. "We need to know what's there to protect it and use it as a solution in the tremendously challenging times ahead."
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