Newly Discovered Millipede Species Has 414 Legs, 200 Poison Glands and Four Penises

Posted on October 24, 2016

Illacme tobini

Scientists discovered a new millipede species in unexplored dark marble caves in Sequoia National Park in California. The millipede species is estimated to have 414 legs. The millipede also has four penises and 200 poison glands.

This new millipede has been named Illacme tobini after cave biologist Ben Tobin of the National Park Service. It is described in ZooKeys by its discoverer Jean Krejca, at Zara Environmental LLC, and millipede taxonomists Paul Marek at Virginia Tech and Bill Shear, Hampden-Sydney College.

The scientists also say the millipede has "bizarre-looking mouthparts of a mysterious function" and nozzles that "squirt a defense chemical of an unknown nature."

The closest relative of the new species lives under giant sandstone boulders outside of San Juan Bautista, California. The millipede's relative has over 700 legs. Paul Marek, Assistant Professor in the Entomology Department at Virginia Tech, says in a statement, "I never would have expected that a second species of the leggiest animal on the planet would be discovered in a cave 150 miles away."

Illacme tobini four penises


The image above shows the millipede's four penises.

Photos: Paul Mareck, Virginia Tech