Amazed at the discovery of this millipede species.
A pale, thread-like creature found lurking in a California cave is a brand-new species of millipede.
The stringy arthropod has 414 legs and four “penises,” limbs that were converted over evolutionary time into structures that transfer sperm. Only a single specimen of the new species has been found, a male, so researchers don’t know what the females look like.
The millipede hails from a marble cavern called Lange Cave in Sequoia National Park. Researchers launched a major survey of caves in Sequoia and nearby Kings Canyon National Park that lasted from 2002 to 2004, with smaller follow-up excursions running from 2006 to 2009. During one of those excursions in October 2006, cave biologist Jean Krejca, now of Zara Environmental in Texas, discovered a skinny little millipede about 0.8 inches (20 millimeters) long. Krejca sent the specimen for analysis to millipede specialists Paul Marek of Virginia Tech and William Shear of Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. [Gallery: Extreme Close-Ups of the New Millipede]