Friday, 18 May 2012
Illacme plenipes, leggiest of them all!
Illacme plenipes has more legs than any other animal! It's a millipede, of course. What else could it possibly be?
The strange thing is how tiny it is. We're talking scarcely more than 3 cm (1.2 in) long and about half a millimetre (0.2 in) wide. In this diminutive frame they pack some 750 legs!
Isn't that amazing? You'd think they'd have legs on their back, legs on their sides and legs on their legs... just pure legs everywhere! Instead it's a skinny but otherwise perfectly normal millipede. They just happen to be unbelievably leggy.
The females are, anyway. Males are somewhat less impressive, being half the length and struggling with a mere 300 or 400 legs. I guess a gentleman should never take the limelight.
Unfortunately, they don't actually have spotlights following everywhere they go. Neither are they weighed down by a shiny, gold medal around their minute neck. There's even a distinct lack of red carpets beneath their hundreds of feet. The wear and tear would be too great.
First discovered in 1926 in central California, these record breaking celebrities immediately took to the life of a recluse. They weren't rediscovered until 2005. They refused to be interviewed but consented to a brief photo shoot. Always leave your fans wanting more, right?