The leggiest animal on Earth is the exceptional female Californian Illacme plenipes, with 750 legs while males boast up to 562! Image credit: wikipedia
Researchers revealed the most detailed study of the millipede lllacme plenipes, once thought to be extinct, been found near Silicon Valley in California.
Dr Paul Marek and his brother discovered them in 2005 in the mountains of California. He said:
“It seems like these legs evolved for their subterranean lifestyle.
They live deep underground: we found them about 10-15cm (4-6in) below the soil’s surface.
They are typically found clinging onto sandstone boulders. Based on functional morphology of closely related species, it seems like all of these legs evolved to burrow under the ground and to cling onto these large boulders.”
Though they have many limbs, the creatures are small, measuring about 3cm long (1in).
Illacme plenipes was first seen in 1926, but was not rediscovered until 2005.
Although no known millipede species has one thousand legs, Illacme plenipes comes the closest with one recorded specimen having 750 legs. On average, they have over 600 legs, twice the average for millipede species. Despite having more legs than any other creature on Earth, it is actually quite small, even relative to other millipedes. Females grow to just over an inch; males are slightly smaller and have fewer legs.