Dec 16, 2008

Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede

Photo source: National Geographic
All sorts of species have been discovered in Greater Mekong (part of Thailand) of late, and I'm here to share some with you, thanks to multiple submissions by you, the readers.

First and foremost, we have the Shocking Pink Dragon Millipede (Desmoxytes purpurosea). Yes, that's it's real name. Here's your Word of the Day: aposematic. Etymologically speaking, it is derived from Latin: apo- away, and sematic sign/meaning. Aposematism is most common in the animal world, and consists of all sorts of vivid coloring and other signs designed to broadcast the fact that the colorful creature is in fact poisonous/toxic/dangerous/cantankerous.

Doesn't each of us practice some aposematism? Maybe it's a warning frown, a step-back gesture, a hand gun, body odor, you name it.

In the instance of the shocking pink dragon millipede, its hot pink coloring means stand back, because I can shoot cyanide. They even give off the tell-tale smell of almonds associated with cyanide. There are 23 species of dragon millipedes, but the shocking pink millipede is the largest of them (now it's just showing off).

The problem with being hot pink is that was is aposematic to one creature might be a lure to another. If one of my daughters spotted one of these crawling across the floor, she'd squeal with delight and try to pick it up. A few spine punctures and a dose of cyanide later, she might begin to associate anything pink with pain, much to Pavlov's and Skinner's delight.

Thanks for the article, Sherry, Nerva, Laura, Rebecca, and Kirsten.


Robot Nine said...

I am so glad you postedd that pic. I had read an article about these new species and wanted to see the pink millipede but keep forgetting to search it. Excellent, strange creature. It'lll go great with some lady's handbag I am sure.

Raging Wombat said...

Glad I could be of service, Robot Nine.

Anonymous said...

This millipede was fashionable in the 80's. They even wore those Flashdance leg warmers on each leg, but now just cringe when they think about it.

Danielle said...

Why oh why did some icky millipede have to be hot pink? I hate things with more than 4 legs...except butterflies...and it's cruel for something this yucky to be my favorite color too!

Nervavels said...

millipedes and centipedes serve purposes; they are clean up crew and natural pesticides!

I just never thought hot pink was a natural color....

Anonymous said...

Where can I purcase one of these shocking pink dragon miliepedes? If anyone knows, please email me at Yes, I am serious and willing to pay top dollar.

0s0-Pa said...

Whoa, I never knew such millipeeds existed, especially in flourescent pink!
-Rich @ Most Poisonous Animals

Anonymous said...

" A few spine punctures and a dose of cyanide later, she might begin to associate anything pink with pain,..."
Ummm... she'd be dead. In seconds. Respiratory failure. One of the fastest poisons we know.