Impurest's Guide to Animals #42 - Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede

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Edited By ImpurestCheese

Thank goddess for that, last weeks hellish days of persecution not to mention my birthday are now in the past. Last week the lordly Lammergeyer and it's bone crushing antics were in the spotlight. As we descend into December we find a smaller deadlier creature as this weeks focus.

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Issue #42 Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede

[1]
[1]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Arthropoda

Class – Diplopoda

Order – Poludesmia

Family – Paradoxsomatidae

Genus – Desmoxytes

Species – purpurosea

Related Species -The Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede is one of 31 species found in the genus Desmoxytes (1)

Range - Pink Dragon Millipedes are only found in a single area of forest on the banks of the Mekong River in Thailand

Poisonous in Pink

At a length of 3cm long the Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede is short, although very bulky thanks to the rows of spines on its back, when compared to many other millipede species. Formally cave dwellers the Shocking Pink Millipede navigates by smell and feeds of detritus in the leaf litter. Shocking Pink Millipedes often gather after rain in large groups, for as of yet unknown reason (2).

[2]
[2]

The spines and bright exoskeleton colours of the millipede are its most interesting features, with both aiding in the creature’s defence. When threatened the Shocking Pink Millipede, like many other species curls up into a coiled disc, with its head facing inwards to protect it from attack. If this fails the millipede secretes Hydrogen Cyanide along the spines and can even fire it at predators for added effect. The concentrations of this deadly chemical are so strong that the millipede has a percent scent of bitter almonds, an obvious olfactory cue alongside its bright colours that it is poisonous.

Because of these deadly defences nothing predates on the Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede, and it can often be found sitting out in the open. Despite this the species wasn’t discovered by science until 2008, with many of its habits, including how it reproduces unknown for the moment.

Five Fun Pink Dragon Millipede Facts

Despite the word Millipede literally meaning a thousand feet the most recorded legs on a species called Illacme plenipes with a total of 750 legs (3)

That said Illacme plenipes is not the longest millipede, that honour goes to the Giant African Millipede (Archispirostreptus gigas) which can reach a length of 40cm

Millipedes were some of the first species to live on land, with the first fossil evidence of one such pioneer dating back 427 million years ago (4)

Recent studies have shown that high concentrations of Hydrogen Cyanide stain a millipedes exoskeleton pink. As such it is suspected that this may be the reason how the Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede became so brightly coloured

Psarmmodesmus bryophorus - The Moss Carrying Millipede [3]
Psarmmodesmus bryophorus - The Moss Carrying Millipede [3]

Not all Millipedes are brightly coloured. One speciesPsammodesmus bryophorus has a symbiotic relationship with moss species, growing them on its shell as camouflage while transporting the plants spores further than they would be carried by wind through their forest home.

Bibliography

1 - www.arkive.org

2 - Enghoff H, Sutcharit C & Panha S, (2007), The shocking pink dragon millipede, Desmoxytes purpurosea, a colourful new species from Thailand (Diplopoda: Polydesmida: Paradoxosomatidae) Zootaxa 1563: 31–36

3 - Paul E. Marek and Jason E. Bond (2006). "Biodiversity hotspots: rediscovery of the world's leggiest animal". Nature 441

4 -Paul Selden & Helen Read (2008). "The oldest land animals: Silurian millipedes from Scotland". Bulletin of the British Myriapod & Isopod Group 23:

Picture References

1 - http://takashi1016.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/641291580_j84dk-l.jpg

2 -http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get2/I000042ANIX2UJ8M/fit=1000x750/Desmoxytes-purpurosea-2012-10.jpg

3 - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/Psammodesmus_bryophorus.jpg

And there we have it, natures very own chemical warfare expert not so much scuttles away, as it does wait for us to leave. Next week we pay tribute to a hero of the Fan-Fic section, and the creature it shares it’s namesake with but until then critic, comment and check out Impurest’s Bestiary of Past Issues

Many Thanks

Impurest Cheese

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deactivated-5ee15da0e0aad

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Millipedes and Centipedes are my ultimate fear... D:

And it uses an acid as a defense mechanism? Nope nope nope.

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cattlebattle

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Almost every animal in Thailand is dangerous....even their otters

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#4  Edited By deactivated-5c901e667a76c  Moderator

Definitely the grossest one I've seen here. I'm not sure if they're my "ultimate fear", but I don't like centipedes at all.

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ImpurestCheese

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@scorpion2501: Thanks for the comment and it's not acid it's Hydrogen Cyanide one of the deadliest organic compounds in the world so it's far worse

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@impurestcheese: Wait, isn't Hydrogen Cynanide not HCn? I could be mistaken but that's the formula for a binary acid :P
Though it's a weak acid, but it's highly poisonous, so that's probably where the confusion comes from ^_^.

And you're welcome, it was a fun(but scary) read.

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Wolverine008

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As always, great job Impurest :)

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ImpurestCheese

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@cattlebattle: Yep Thailand is the new Australia in terms of deadliness

@xwraith: Really? Worse than those worms a month ago?

@scorpion2501: My bad you are correct about the acidic nature of Hydrogen Cyanide. Have a cookie

P.S. All cookies are laced with millipede poison almonds

@wolverine08:Thanks for the comment

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@impurestcheese: There's just something more blearrrrgggghhhh about this one.

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:0 I want one!

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Samimista

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Man, I'd be so afraid to go near one. I mean, it looks beautiful (mainly the dark pink one), but the Hydrogen Cyanide...O___O

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johnjo719

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So wait predators don't. Like almonds?

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I've ran into centipedes and millipedes during the multiple times I went back to Thailand, but this guy's stats creep me out even more.

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@retconcrisis: There is something creepy about it I admit. Not as bad as the big centipede who bit me in Indonesia though

@xwraith: Each to his one.

@cgoodness: You would, just beware the skin lesions, chemical burns and potential death it will give you in return

@scorpion2501: Oh but I made then myself...

@samimista: It's very much a look but don't touch animal

@johnjo719: Ha ha, hydrogen cyanide smells of bitter almonds

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Ostyo

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#17  Edited By Ostyo

I must touch it. O.O

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itsomething

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#18  Edited By itsomething

These are so cool, but I have no clue why you do these

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I love watching millipedes and centipedes move. So fluid and elegant. The colouring on this one makes it a show off, haha.

I can't believe how ignorant I am of animals in this world. Thanks for these articles. It's a great topic of conversation with my friends, too.

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ImpurestCheese

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@itsomething: Thanks so much for the comment. I work as an Ecologist, which among many other things involves moving animals off of construction sites. That requires a lot of knowledge so I thought I'd share a little bit of what I learnt

@ostyo: Yeah you would

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#21  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@ms-lola: Cool and that means I have achieved my objective, knowledge passed on successfully and trust me, you're not ignorent the world didn't know of this one until 2008

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ImpurestCheese

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@ostyo: I think you overestimate the aerodynamic qualities of dragon millipedes TBH. It's no 'Leaproach' that's for sure

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Ostyo

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Okay, you know you're gonna drop the word "Leaproach" and not end up explaining it in more detail. So spill it.

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ImpurestCheese

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@ostyo: It's a South African Cockroach that leaps better than a locust of the same size. It eats sedges and grass so it's actually trying to evolve into a locust or grasshopper

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What would happen if I were to scrap my hand on the spines?

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#27  Edited By cbishop
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@darthaznable: iIf injeted first you get vertigo, neasau and breathing becomes hard due to the poison bonding to the haemoglobin in red blood cells. If simply sprayed on the skin you get lesions and burns. One final note in Nazi Germany the chemical was called Zyklon B

@cbishop: Cool thanks

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What a creepy animal...still kinda adorable though. ^_^

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#31  Edited By itsomething

@impurestcheese: *learned

Anyways that clears up why you've been doing this, I always thought you were some troll so bored that you decided to start making animal wikis

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ImpurestCheese

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@itsomething: Nope no Troll here. I do most of my work on the Fan-Fic board which is why I'm not that well known on the Off Topic Board

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@impurestcheese: I just always thought you had nothing to do, but the fan-fic board is cool

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ImpurestCheese

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@itsomething: Yep, as cool as it is I always love the wide ranging comments I get here. Now for a question of my own. Do you want to be included in the call-out list for future issues?

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Well this is shocking to know about this cool critter.

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Dang! Scary, son!

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ImpurestCheese

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@itsomething: Cool Beans

@blacklegraph: Yep as several other people have mentioned Nature is full of 'Nopes'

@616vulture: Hilarious, thanks for the comment and the joke it really made my day

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Wow. Interesting little feller

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@nighthunder: Cool thank you. Sorry about the late reply never got the notification

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@impurestcheese: Very interesting. I normally do research on arachnids(mainly spiders) so this was a very refreshing read.

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@theeliteprimate: Cool thanks. There are three Arachnid issues (two spiders and a scorpion) floating around here somewhete