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ANIMALS > Leggiest creature in the world revealed

PHOENIX, Arizona

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The world’s leggiest creature is a millipede with 750 legs. The 
species, which is called ‘Illacme plenipes,’ was first seen 80 years ago.

The world’s leggiest creature is a millipede with 750 legs. The species, which is called ‘Illacme plenipes,’ was first seen 80 years ago.

The anatomical secrets of the world’s leggiest creature, a millipede with 750 legs, have been revealed by scientists, the BBC has reported. The species, called Illacme plenipes, was first seen 80 years ago but was recently rediscovered in California.

Now researchers have found that as well as bearing an extreme number of legs, the creature may have more in common with millipedes that lived millions of years ago than today’s species. The study is published in the journal ZooKeys.

“It’s a kind of mythical creature in the millipede world,” said Dr Paul Marek, an entomologist from the University of Arizona and the lead author of the paper.

Despite the name, most millipedes have far fewer than 1,000 feet. Most species belonging to the most common order Polydesmida have an average of just 62.

But Dr Marek confirmed that Illacme plenipes safely holds the record for the leggiest creature: females can have up to 750 legs, while males have up to 562.

“It seems like these legs evolved for their subterranean lifestyle,” he explained.

November/16/2012

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