A new species of millipede found lurking in the unexplored dark marble caves of Sequoia National Park in California has left scientists baffled. The unique creature has 414 legs, four ‘penises’, bizarre-looking mouthparts and secretes a poisonous chemical as a defense mechanism. Named Illacme tobini, it was discovered during an expedition in 2006 and later revealed to be the evolutionary cousin of the leggiest animal on the planet, Illacme plenipes.
Millipedes are invertebrates that coil up into a ball when they sense danger, however their name is very misleading. Their Latin name means ‘thousand feet’, yet many do not surpass 200 – except for the new species discovered in California.
A common North American critter, these creatures usually measure about 2.5 centimeters to 4 centimeters long. However, some can grow much larger, such as longest millipede known as the giant African millipede – it can grow up to 38.5 centimeters (15.2 in) in length, 67 millimeters (2.6 in) in circumference.