Centipede is beautiful, crazy

Entomologist Piotr Naskrecki found this fantastic centipede hiding under the smushy bark of a fallen log in Mozambique. You can see more photographs of it, and read more about its discovery at his blog, The Smaller Majority.

What makes this centipede particularly interesting (besides that great handlebar moustache it's sporting) is the long, fuchsia appendages on its rear end, each one topped with a feathery, yellow bit, like a flag on a pole. According to Naskrecki, nobody knows what those appendages are for. They seem to have evolved from the animal's rear-most legs, but their function is a total mystery.

Via Why Evolution is True


  1. They’re for attracting nature show hosts, a’ la the Frilled Ren inflating and deflating his neck sac.  “Great flags, man!”

  2. Hey you know what would be great? If we could make a human version of one of these!

  3. I’d guess the same function as the feather on a kung-fu spear, to distract you with fluffiness so it can then pierce you with the much less fluffy piercing mandibles on the mouth end.  Being a part time pedagog, I had to check if entomologists actually studied non-insects, and wiki said historically it’s in their bailiwick.

  4. I’m pretty sure Guild Steersmen have the same useless flippers for feet , but they’re not telling why either.

  5. Having spent the larger portion of my large life in ‘Seuf Efrica’ before fleeing to a colder and more temperate climate north of the border, i do feel quite confident in my belief based on experience that the purpose of said appendages would be stinging you to buggery and then back

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