Trivia question for Feb-07-2011
Although Carter is not a big fan of insects, he did like the way these guys look so he decided to give it a try:
When the cousins of these insects are rolled-up, most reach a maximum size of a cherry or golf ball, but this species (from Madagascar) can even reach the size of a baseball.
When rolled-up, predators are unable to unravel them since the margins of their second and last dorsal plate fit perfectly into one another creating a sealed ball. A few of these species are actually able to produce sound. Some of these guys can even secrete sedatives that actually tranquilize predators, allowing them to escape.
Although these guys are typically plentiful in their range, some areas are seeing a reduction in their numbers due to the interest from the pet trade and because of habitat destruction by humans clearing land for development and agriculture.
So here’s our question: Tell us the name of this particularly large insect and tell us approximately how many known species of these insects are found throughout the world?
Good Luck 😉
Congratulations to Natalie Borgardt for being the first with the correct answer. The insect is a Giant Pill Millipede. Currently, 322 species in 23 genera are known with numerous new species having been discovered recently. Pill Millipedes developed sedatives before humans. The substance they secrete is very similar in chemical structure to quaaludes, a synthetic human sedative.
Here is more on these large rolly-pollies: Giant Pill Millipeded
Thanks for playing along 😉