That’s amateur hour compared to a tiny millipede recently discovered in a Californian cave. Illacme tobini doesn’t quite have the “thousand legs” from which millipedes get their name, but it’s closer than most with 207 pairs for a grand total of 414 legs. And that’s not even the weirdest thing about it.
With that many appendages, you’d assume that Illacme tobini is some sort of giant cave-dwelling arthropod straight out of your nightmares. It’s probably worse in your dreams than in reality — it’s very small in real life. Illacme tobini clocks in at 0.8-inches long, but that’s based on the sole example of the species. Scientists found the animal while exploring the caverns in California’s Sequoia National park, but they won’t reveal where exactly as they don’t want anyone disturbing the cave.
The lone specimen is male. Presumably, there are also females of the species, but scientists were unable to find one. The male has no eyes (it doesn’t need them in a cave) and strange bristly mouth parts that indicate it subsides entirely on fungus. Illacme tobini has four specialized feet called gonopods — millipede genitalia. Illacme tobini really seems to stress redundancy.
Scientists also found more than 200 pores dotting the length of the body that produce an unidentified secretion. It’s not clear what the substance is, but the team speculated that it might be some sort of poison that deters predators. Or maybe they’re part of the millipede’s cloaking device, which I assume they have. There was no sign of another Illacme tobini specimen in 63 subsequent expeditions in the Sierra Nevada foothills and El Dorado National Forest. Maybe some day the creature will pop up again in all its leggy glory.