Scientists find 'the first true millipede' with over 1,300 legs in Australia

If you thought you had seen a real millipede, think again. The first ever true millipede with over 1,000 legs has been discovered in western Australia.

According to a peer-reviewed study published in Scientific Reports, the new record-setting species has 1,306 legs – 556 more than the previous record set by Illacme plenipes found in central California.

Millipede translates to 1,000 feet, but no one has actually seen one with more than 750 legs until now.

Named Eumillipes persephone after the queen of the underworld, this new species was found nearly 197 feet below ground in a drill hole created for mineral exploration, the study said.

The millipede has an elongated body and does not have eyes or pigmentation. It also has a cone shaped head and a beak for feeding.

The first true millipede with1,306 legs.
The first true millipede with1,306 legs.

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“These animals were so unique,” Bruno Buzatto, a biologist at Bennelongia Environmental Consultants, told the Guardian. “As soon as I realized how long they were … I realized they had to be something completely different.”

Millipedes were one of the first animals to breathe oxygen and have lived on Earth for over 400 million years, the study said. This new species evolved to have more legs to move around better in soil habitats.

“The more length you have, the more strength to propel forward,” Juanita Rodriguez, a research collaborator and CSIRO insect expert, told the Guardian.

The study collected eight of the new species including two juveniles collected in April 2020 and January 2021.

Rodriguez told the Guardian there could be 4,000 species of millipede, although only 2,000 are known.

Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: agilbert@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: New species of millipede found with over 1,300 legs in Australia