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For North American millipedes, foreplay has a built-in a lightshow.
Scientists recently discovered that many species of the leggy critters fluoresce under ultraviolet (UV) light — the trait appears to be widespread in this group of arthropods. While the millipedes' greenish glow appeared all over their bodies, it was especially noteworthy in the males' genitals, with subtle color variations indicating different species, researchers wrote in a new study.
Study - Co-author - Stephanie - Ware - Research
Study co-author Stephanie Ware, a research assistant at the Field Museum in Chicago, discovered the fluorescence while working with millipedes in the museum's collection, she told Live Science. Ware had read that one order of millipedes was known to fluoresce; she shone UV lights on museum specimens and found that all of the millipedes demonstrated some fluorescence.
That glow likely comes from a protein in the millipede exoskeleton that absorbs visible light and reemits it in hues of green, yellow and blue, lead study author Petra Sierwald, an associate curator with the Integrative Research Center at the Field Museum, told Live Science.
Glowing - Genitals - Pseudopolydesmus - Caddo
The glowing genitals of Pseudopolydesmus caddo.
For the study, the authors...
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