Associated Press reports:
World’s Leggiest Animal, With More Than 600 Legs, Resurfaces in California After 80 Years
By ALICIA CHANG
LOS ANGELES Jun 7, 2006 — The world’s leggiest animal, about an inch long, has been sighted in a remote part of California decades after it was first discovered.
The recent rediscovery of the rare millipede species, with more than 600 legs, excited scientists who want to preserve the tiny patch of land around where it was spotted.
“This is a milestone find,” said Richard Hoffman, a millipede expert at the Virginia Museum of Natural History who had no connection with the discovery.
Despite the name, which means “thousand-legged,” most millipedes have on average 300 legs.
Of the estimated 10,000 species, only one I. [Illacme] plenipes comes close to living up to its name and only thrives in California.
That rare species was first spied in 1926 in San Benito County, about 120 miles southwest of San Francisco, by a government scientist who counted up to a record 750 legs.
For decades, scientists flocked to the area in search of the leggy bug, but were unsuccessful.
It remained elusive until a 28-year-old scientist from East Carolina University, Paul Marek, and his brother chanced upon it last fall.
“I practically fell over when I found it. It was extremely exhilarating,” said Marek, who published the discovery in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature.
Millipedes are found worldwide in temperate and tropical zones.
See also here.
New millipede genus discovered in cave in the USA: here.