Yellow Spotted Millipede

Yellow Spotted Millipede

So here’s a superb tale.

I acquired a Macro lens: Canon 100mm L series f2.8. And began shooting every little thing I could lay my hands on.

Which includes this creepy-crawly that I discovered in large numbers in my garden.

A hunt for the ID proved unsuccessful initially since there was a confusion if this really was the Yellow Spotted Millipede. Apparently its natural habitat is in the moist forests along the Pacific coast of North America.

Further search led me to the website of Dr. Krishna Mohan :

I left a note for him and he soon responded with some interesting information.

This is the Yellow Spotted Millipede (Harpaphe haydeniana).

Here’s an extract from a research paper by Prem Apurva (Research Scholar, P.G. Department of Zoology, V.B. University, Hazaribag, India), S.K. Sinha (Department of Zoology, R.S. More College, Govindpur, Dhanbad, India) and P.C.Thakur (Department of Botany, Chas College, Chas, Bokaro, India):

Parthenium hysterophorus Linn. (Asteraceae), also called as carrot grass, congress grass etc is an alien weed introduced accidently to India along with wheat grains imported from America. It has posed serious threat to environment, biodiversity, and human health. With the objective to control spread of this weed and to make it useful for agriculture, we tried to make its compost with the help of Harpaphe haydeniana (millipede) of class Diplopoda (phylum Arthropoda).

As Dr. Krishna Mohan confirms, the species (scientific name: Harpaphe haydeniana) has been introduced in India.

BTW, this is a dicey millipede. Wiki states: H. haydeniana has few predators, due to its aposematic coloration and its ability to secrete hydrogen cyanide when threatened. This behaviour gives rise to the common names “cyanide millipede” and “almond-scented millipede” (since cyanide smells of almonds).

Update: The plot thickened as further information by experts on Flickr challenged this finding. It’s been a few weeks and finally the mystery stands solved. Thanks to flickr and a research paper from the National University of Singapore, it’s finally settled as the species Anoplodesmus Saussurii. And yes, it does secrete Hydrogen Cyanide when threatened.

©2012 Rahul Jauhari. All rights reserved.

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