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A terrifying monster has been discovered in a California park

A terrifying monster has been discovered in a California park

It is a general belief that animal species unknown to science are more likely to be discovered in primeval wilderness far from civilization. This belief was refuted by the discovery that occurred in a park in one of the outer districts of Los Angeles, a large city in California.

The strange creature discovered by chance turns out to be a completely new species

For the first time in April 2018, two naturalists discovered a special millipede, which looked suspiciously unknown, in the Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park near Lake Forest, California, so photos of the many-legged creature have been uploaded to I am a naturalist Website, which is an online interface for species identification. The uploaded photos caught the attention of Virginia Tech entomologist Paul E. Marek. So the scientist visited the seemingly special arthropod discovery site in hopes that he, too, could find a specimen of the strange millipede and examine it more thoroughly.

This new genre was literally right under our nosesSource: Marek, PE et al (2023) ZooKeys (CC BY 4.0) / IlfScience

Fortunately, his research was crowned with success, so he was able to take some of the samples he had taken with him back to his laboratory in Virginia. DNA sequencing and analysis revealed that the small white millipede is a new species previously unknown to science, originating from its discovery site in the Los Angeles millipede (Illacame social) his name was.

A new millipede has been discovered Illacame The third known species of the genus. A little earlier, in 2016, the second described species of the genus was discovered Ilamami Tobenit, its unique feature is that it has four collective members at the same time. The name millipedes is somewhat misleading, because they have no more than a thousand legs, nor do centipedes have a hundred.

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Micrograph of the head of the Illacame socal, which has been shown to be a new speciesSource: Marek, PE et al (2023) ZooKeys (CC BY 4.0) / IlfScience

newly described Illacame social It has 486 legs, but there are centipede species that have many more legs. American researchers also found a centipede with 375 pairs, that is, 750 legs. With this discovery, this organism became the record holder in the animal world, because it was previously believed that an animal with 742 legs was the millipede that had the largest number of legs. Millipedes play a very important ecological role.

Millipedes are distributed all over the world. In the photo you can see sandpiper (Ommatoiulus sabulosus), which can also be found in Hungary.Source: Wikimedia Commons / Sheila 1988

“We need these little things,” he said. “They matter.” IlfScience Brian Browns, curator of entomology at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, is a science information portal. The original scientific publication on the new species is A ZooKeys It can be read in a trade magazine.

This is the oldest group of terrestrial animals, whose representatives are also found in Hungary

Contrary to popular misconception, these animals are not insects, but belong to the family of arthropods (arthropods(within an independent, two-part category)Complications of legs) belong to one of its subsections. Millipedes are a very ancient group of animals.

that roamed the Earth about 500 million years ago.

They even hold the Guinness World Record as the first creatures to migrate from sea to land and settle. Millipedes play a very important role in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem.

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Fossil remains of a once-lived vehicle several meters longSource: IlfScience

They lead a predatory life, their main prey are various insects and other arthropods, but they also eat decay and plant debris. Their long, thin, worm-like body is composed of segments, and each segment has two pairs of legs. Millipedes are found all over the world, except for the cold Arctic regions. They are nocturnal, that is, nocturnal, and avoid bright light.

In Hungary, these creatures are known as vaspondroSource: Wikimedia Commons / A1AA1A

The largest modern specimens usually do not exceed 30 cm in length, but millipedes of enormous size are known from the geological past.

Its length exceeded that of a passenger car.

They are also native to Hungary, and are colloquially known as vaspondró or iron cat, although they are not related to worms. In our country, they usually occur in the sandy areas of the great plain, as well as on the south side of hills and mountain pastures, sometimes in large numbers.

Common centipede in Hungary, Hungarian sedge (Pachyiulus hungaricus)Source: Wikimedia Commons / Muscari

The domestic vaspondro species belong to small millipedes, which can reach 3-4 cm in length. As a means of defense, it emits a strong, unpleasant odor. From the habitats in which they breed excessively, they begin to migrate en masse. One of their biggest domestic forays has been known since 1995, from around Balasajarmat.

Sources used:

Paul E. Marek, Charity L. Hall, Cedric Lee, James Bailey, Matt C. Berger, Matt T. Kasson, William Shear: New species of Illacme from Southern California (Siphonophorida, Siphonorhinidae)ZooKeys, 21 Jun 2023, Available Here.
Eleanor Higgs: A new species of millipede discovered in Orange County Park has 486 legsIlfScience, July 17, 2023.

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