The color pink does not typically inspire fear, however if you were to feast your eyes upon a three centimeter long bright pink millipede with menacing spines protruding from its long slimy body, then you might experience the color pink in a more intense way. There just is no mistaking the color of this incredibly pink millipede, and researchers think that there is a reason for this millipede’s remarkably pink colored body.
Researchers believe that the millipedes pink color exists to demonstrate to potential predators that the millipede is full of venom that is particularly lethal. Once another animal gets a look at this millipede, that animal will run away in fear of dying a horrible poison induced death.
The researchers are likely correct with their guess since this millipede has been found to contain hydrogen cyanide. Hydrogen cyanide is lethal in humans in rather low doses. Three hundred ppm will kill a human in under an hour. And 3500 ppm will kill a human within a single minute. Hydrogen cyanide is a unique form of chemical defense within the animal kingdom.
Why would this millipede be endowed with a particularly strong venom as opposed to a weaker venom that is more common in venomous animals?