Behold, Los Angeles thread millipede! This tiny creature is a newly-discovered species that scurries around L.A. on 486 tiny legs. It's blind, spews strange chemicals from its skin, and eats dead organic matter. Researchers discovered the tiny animal—approximately 0.5mm wide and 2.5cm long—on a hiking trail near a freeway.
From The Guardian:
"It's amazing to think these millipedes are crawling in the inner cracks and crevices between little pieces of rock below our feet in Los Angeles," said entomologist Paul Marek of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute. He was part of the research team that included scientists from West Virginia University and the University of California, Berkeley.
Their findings on the species, whose scientific name is Illacme socal, were published on 21 June in the journal ZooKeys. The species' vernacular name is the Los Angeles thread millipede.
"It goes to show that there's this undiscovered planet underground," Marek added[…]
Millipedes feed on dead organic material and without them people would be "up to our necks" in it, Marek said.
"By knowing something about the species that fulfill these really important ecological roles, we can protect them and then the environment that protects us as well," he said.