August 28th, 2008

(no subject)

The shocking pink dragon millipede that smells like nuts-Desmoxytes purpurosea:a colourful new
species from Thailand.

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The striking, spiny “dragon millipedes” of the genus Desmoxytes are known from a large area in South East Asia, from south-eastern China south through Vietnam, Thailand and Myanmar. Twenty-three species are known from this area.All known species of Desmoxytes are known from only one or at most a few localities.The species described is remarkable for its striking, shocking pink colouration. At 3cm in length, it is also among the largest species in its genus. At the type locality, many specimens were seensitting openly on the ground and vegetation during daytime. The stark bright colour no doubt is aposematic,warning would-be predators of a spiny, toxic animal. Millipedes of the order Polydesmida produce hydrogen cyanide in their defensive glands and living specimens of the new species gave off the typical almondlike smell associated with cyanide production. We think that such an unusually coloured, conspicuous millipede deserves more than a Latin name and suggest calling it “The shocking pink dragon millipede”.