Description

I own no land, instead I have wheelestate. I’ve been a full time RVer since 1997. Working summers as a Park Ranger takes me to many beautiful places and playing during the winter takes me to many more. This blog is simply the story of my life's adventures.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shongololo

01 Shonglolo millipede Kruger NP Mpumalanga ZA (800x600)

So how many legs does a millipede grow?

02 Shongololo millipede Kruger NP H7 E Mpumalanga ZA (800x600)

When Joan pointed out the shongololo millipede on the road in Kruger National Park I thought she was kidding. They are so big, about 10 inches (25.4 cm).

03 Night train millipede (500x375)

Not like what I’m used to seeing in the Pacific Northwest where the night trains get no bigger than 1.5 inches (3.81cm).

04 Shonglolo millipede Kruger NP Mpumalanga ZA (800x600)

In actuality, they only have 102 pairs of legs. The babies hatch with only three pairs of legs and acquire more at each molt. Although they have so many short legs and move rather slow they are powerful burrowers easily forcing their way underground head first moving their body in a wavelike pattern. They are detritivores, eating decaying leaves and dead plant matter.

05 Shonglolo Kruger NP Mpumalanga ZA (600x800)

Due to their lack of speed and their inability to bite or sting, millipedes' primary defense mechanism is to curl into a tight coil—protecting their delicate legs inside an armored body exterior.

06 Shonglolo Kruger NP Mpumalanga ZA (489x575)

Many species also emit poisonous liquid secretions or hydrogen cyanide gas, smells like cherries, as a secondary defense.

07 Shongololo Express train in mountains (482x325)

And then there’s the Shongololo Express named by indigenous people upon seeing trains winding through the hillsides.

13 comments:

Rambling Woods said...

Gaining legs as they molt.. Interesting, but 10 inches is way too big....

blog with no name said...

anything with that many legs doesn't have to bite or sting. It is scarey looking enough.

Small City Scenes said...

How neat, I always liked bugs and such. that train does look like the Shongololo.
I cruised through the rest of your posts. The big cats---I would love to look at them up close and personal. The blessing and cleansing--so nice. and Meeting ZJoan along with you. she seems like a good friend. Take Care, MB

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Shongololo? You sure were a fast learner my friend!! :)

Where did you take the 3rd picture Gaelyn? I have not seen one with those yellow markings on the side before.

Carolyn said...

Such an interesting critter and your photos are terrific Gaelyn. I'd love to travel on that train.
Smiles

dAwN said...

Yikes..lots of legs..
That last scene is spectacular!

Firefly said...

Trust Joan to tell you they have 102 pairs of legs and burst the 1000 leg bubble. LOL. They are amazing and the tourists are always in bewonderment when they see them.

Jazz said...

BUGS!!! Yay, I love bugs. Who knew they gained legs as they molt. That is so cool.

Craver Vii said...

Mmmmm... that's good eating. (crunch, slurp)

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Way cool, Gaelyn!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Gaelyn: Did our friend make you onto a bug hunter? Great photo of the little critters.

Abraham said...

Nice shots. We have some here but not this large and seldom seen. We also have what is called "thousand legged bugs" which seem to hide out under dead wood, rocks and such. Move the rock and several run out.

A human kind of human said...

You might think me silly, but I got a real kick out of seeing a shongololo on an Arizona blog (lol). I love watching them move... always think that they have music in their legs/feet... moving like a beautiful melody. Just silly me, I guess.
(Oh dear, the word verification word for this comment is "mastero"... could be confused with maestro!

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