Harpaphe haydeniana

Harpaphe haydeniana
Harpaphe haydeniana
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Superclass: Myriapoda
Class: Diplopoda
Order: Polydesmida
Family: Xystodesmidae
Genus: Harpaphe
Species: H. haydeniana
Binomial name
Harpaphe haydeniana
(Wood, 1864)

Harpaphe haydeniana (the yellow-spotted millipede, almond-scented millipede or cyanide millipede) is a millipede found in the moist forests along the Pacific coast of North America,[1] from California to British Columbia and Alaska.[2]

H. haydeniana reach a length of 4–5 centimetres (1.6–2.0 in) when mature, and may live for 2–3 years. The body is black, and is distinctively marked along the sides with patches of a yellowish colour.[2] H. haydeniana has approximately twenty body segments, bearing a total of 30 (males) or 31 (females) pairs of legs.[2] The difference between males and females is due to one pair of legs on the seventh segment being modified in the male to form gonopods used for sperm transfer.[2]

H. haydeniana is an important part of the forest ecosystem, breaking down leaf litter, and freeing up its nutrients for other organisms.[1] Immature millipedes feed on humus.

H. haydeniana has few predators, due to its aposematic coloration and its ability to secrete hydrogen cyanide when threatened. This behaviour gives rise to the common names "cyanide millipede" and "almond-scented millipede" (since cyanide smells of almonds). Nonetheless, at least one species, the ground beetle Promecognathus laevissimus, is a specialised predator of H. haydeniana.[1]


External links

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