Friday, August 14, 2009
1st Tennessee Arthropod--Leach's Millipede
This beauty is the Leach's Millipede (Euryurus leachii). While staying in Townsend, TN I was hoping to find numerous insects, and while I didn't find huge numbers of insects or other arthropods; the ones that I did find were interesting. This gorgeous millipede was crawling across the deck of the cabin we were staying at. I had just reluctantly left the comfort of the hot tub, when I noticed this thing crawling quite rapidly across the porch. At first glance I thought it was a caterpillar, imagine my surprise to discover what it really was. I was little concerned about handling it, as red is usually a warning coloration and I know that many millipedes exude a chemical secretion that can cause burning or skin discoloration. I do not know if this particular species has that ability, but I didn't want to take the chance. I captured him and plan to use him as an exhibit arthropod for our upcoming Insect-O-Rama event. This particular specimen was approximately 3 inches in length, and once again I am unsure if this is as big as they get or if bigger ones can be found. About the only information I could find on them states they prefer the rotting wood of hardwood trees. Rarely associated with pine woods or leaf litter as with many other millipede species. They are common, but this was the only one I could find, and believe me I looked frequently around our cabin.This dark brownish-black millipede was laying on a walking trail near the Cades Cove area of the Smokey Mountains. A Harvestman was munching down on the unfortunate victim. The Harvestmen (a.k.a Daddy Longlegs) were HUGE in this area. WAY bigger than anything we have in NWMO. I am unsure of the species of this Millipede, but I believe it is Narceus americanus. These are one of the biggest millipede, if not the biggest in the Eastern United States.