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“The species name is from the Greek mythological goddess of the underworld, Persephone, who was originally from the surface but was taken to the underworld by Hades,” study author Paul Marek of Virginia Tech University told AFP.
The string-like creature is less than a millimetre wide but nearly 10 centimetres long and has “a cone-shaped head with enormous antennae and a beak for feeding”, the study says.
It also has no eyes and is colourless, traits characteristic of animals that spend their entire lives underground.
“The millipede burrows by stretching out its extensible body thereby making it thinner to fit small cracks,” Marek said.
“The many legs propel the body and force open small fissures and crevices.”
They play a vital role in the ecosystems they inhabit by eating detritus and recycling nutrients.
Baby millipedes hatch with just four legs but can continue to grow new segments with new legs into adulthood.
© 2021 AFP
First ever true millipede with over 1,000 feet found (2021, December 19)
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