The First True Millipede Found in Australia

The world’s first true millipede was discovered right here in Australia.

 

Millipedes are generally only an occasional pest, although certain areas can experience seasonal infestations of the Portuguese millipede. It’s not a pest-related fact, but despite their name (millipede means ‘thousand feet’), until relatively recently no millipede has been described with more than 750 legs.

That changed in 2020, when drilling for minerals in the Goldfields region of Western Australia, a thread-like millipede with 1,306 legs was discovered in a drill hole at a depth of 60 metres (pictured above). Adapted to its life underground, it does not have eyes, but has very large antennae and is unpigmented. It is not actually very long given the number of legs it has, coming in at under 10 cm long… but it does have 330 body segments and of course over a thousand legs!

Eumillipes Persephone as it was named, is unlikely to be encountered by pest managers let alone require a treatment. However, for the pest millipedes, the spraying of a broad band of insecticide around the perimeter of buildings, particularly to garden beds, will provide both instant kill and residual protection from invading millipedes. As Portuguese millipedes are attracted to lights, the use of curtains and turning off outdoor lights will make the home less attractive while physical barriers or moats around entrances will also stop potential invaders.

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