The Dragon Millipede is one of the recently discovered specimens found in the area of the Mekong River in Southeast Asia. This area had been kept under wraps with political turmoil for many decades. It was not until the 90's when scientists were welcomed into these relatively uncharted territories for research.
So far researchers have been adding more new specimens to the list at the incredible rate of 2 per week since beginning this project in 1997. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has reported to date 1,068 new specimens have been discovered and documented within the past 10 years. The WWF brings us this good news, which we thought with the holiday season upon us might be appropriate to express our joy with a little song:
3,000 Days of the WWF
On the 3,000th day of research the WWF brought to me...
519 plants pollinating
279 fish swimming
88 spiders spinning (webs, not the bikes)
88 frogs a-leaping
46 lizards a-licking
22 snakes a-slitherin'
Fifteen... mi-grating mam-mals...
4 squawking birds
4 turtles without the doves
2 salivating salamanders
and a toad in a leafy green tree
The Dragon Millipede and Huntsman Spider
The Dragon Millipede gets its name not from its ability to breathe fire, or deter predators with its bad breathe, but rather its unique internal mechanism which is able to produce a substance similar to cyanide. Its bright pink color is meant as a (not so) subtle warning for predators to keep clear of its path. Reaching only a 3 centimeter length at full adulthood, the dragon Millipede has had to literally bully its way through life all the many years it has been in existence.
Another interesting find to go along with the wicked-cool nature of the millipede was an arachnophobia sufferers worst nightmare. A Huntsman Spider with a leg span of nearly one foot (30 centimeters). There are many other amazing specimens we could talk about, but our main concern here is for the future of these amazing creatures.
What Will the Future Hold for the Creatures of the Mekong?
As hearty as these survivors may be to have lasted this long, there is concern for their ultimate longevity once the area of Southeast Asia begins to develop and industrialize. At the moment there is absolutely no environmental protection plan in place. Without such action, many of these yet to be discovered creatures may not live long enough to be discovered!
More information on endangered species
Focus on Focus Earth: Changes to Endangered Species Act?
Green Glossary: Rainforest
Save the Whales. Seriously: These 3 Websites Can Help