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buz
12-12-2012, 01:06 AM
So I've decided to write in this slightly supernatural giant millipede, based on this not-supernatural regular-sized one (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/12/photogalleries/greater-mekong-new-species-photos/photo2.html).

I know that some millipedes emit hydrogen cyanide gas. I know that some secrete cyanide in gooey form. But National Geographic says this millipede can "shoot" it. I can't substantiate this and I can't really envision how. Through microscopic pores? Does it spurt out everywhere like when you squeeze a Gusher or is there some precision? Does anyone understand this (or can you point me to an appropriate source)?

Also, am I right in thinking that cyanide absorbed through the skin has mostly the same effects on a person as ingested or inhaled cyanide (plus skin irritation)?

Drachen Jager
12-12-2012, 01:28 AM
http://listverse.com/2009/08/10/top-10-badass-living-creatures/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desmoxytes_purpurosea

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanide

Cyia
12-12-2012, 04:02 PM
The idea of a giant millipede is somewhat terrifying.

Millipedes and centipedes are extremely aggressive.

There's been some research done into their venom for therapeutic purposes, but they're so aggressive that it's nearly impossible to "milk" them for venom the way you would a snake, a scorpion, a wasp, etc. with any usable frequency. They pretty much only give the stuff up when they mean to use it.

And cyanide is nasty, nasty stuff if it's manufactured, but naturally occurring varieties are much lower on the toxicity scale.

King Neptune
12-12-2012, 06:35 PM
Those millipedes would make good murder weapons, but there would have to be a goof story to fit around the weapon.

Wicked
12-12-2012, 07:30 PM
Millipedes and centipedes are extremely aggressive.



I must respectfully object.

Centipedes are the ones you don't want to be picking up to play with. They're highly efficient predators.

Millipedes are detrivores. They eat dead stuff, mostly leaves and rotten wood. Millipedes aren't aggressive and don't have venom.
Yes, some species secrete a cyanide like substance as a defense mechanism. In a few tropical species this substance can "burn" or blister your skin.

Mine can secrete a mild substance that can stain your hands, and a noxious smell. Mostly they just curl up in a ball and poop on me when they're annoyed.

They secrete the chemicals through pores running along the side of their body called repugnatorial pores or ozopores.(not all species have them in the same place).

Don't rub them in your eyes, don't stick them in your mouth, and don't forget to wash your hands. :tongue

http://imageshack.us/a/img57/6458/sambigmillixj7.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/57/sambigmillixj7.jpg/)
http://imageshack.us/a/img5/6765/p1010055g.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/5/p1010055g.jpg/)

http://imageshack.us/a/img252/8765/bigmamamilliro6.th.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/252/bigmamamilliro6.jpg/)

That is a super cool milli you picked, Buz. :D Talk about an oddball of the genus. He's rockin the hot pink.

As for his squirting, I believe I read that they could squirt it a couple of inches out of their mouth. Don't quote me on that, I could have misread. They are a relatively new discovery, so who knows when science will get all their facts straight.

Oh, and if you want weird, check out the Lemur getting high off millipede excretions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LwQ0ZiTYkQ

ATE: Secrete, not excrete. I'm running on half a brain cell today.

Myrealana
12-12-2012, 07:37 PM
The idea of a giant millipede is somewhat terrifying.


No.

The idea of a giant millipede that shoots cyanide is EXTREMELY terrifying.

EW!

buz
12-12-2012, 11:51 PM
The idea of a giant millipede is somewhat terrifying.

Millipedes and centipedes are extremely aggressive.

There's been some research done into their venom for therapeutic purposes, but they're so aggressive that it's nearly impossible to "milk" them for venom the way you would a snake, a scorpion, a wasp, etc. with any usable frequency. They pretty much only give the stuff up when they mean to use it.


True of centipedes; what I've seen in my limited research indicates that millipedes are quite different, as Wicked says. :D But I did consider a centipede instead for these reasons...then...well, I found a hot pink millipede and it was sort of decided. What can I say. ;)



Mine can excrete a mild substance that can stain your hands, and a noxious smell. Mostly they just curl up in a ball and poop on me when they're annoyed.

I may use this. :D What does millipede poop look like?


As for his squirting, I believe I read that they could squirt it a couple of inches out of their mouth. Don't quote me on that, I could have misread. They are a relatively new discovery, so who knows when science will get all their facts straight.

That helps :D As long as nobody else knows the right answer, I won't be wrong....right? :p


No.

The idea of a giant millipede that shoots cyanide is EXTREMELY terrifying.

EW!

Hm. I tend to forget, until I tell people about certain things in the book, that what I'm writing might be somewhat horrific to certain people. ;)

Eeeexccellllleennt....

Wicked
12-13-2012, 12:27 AM
I may use this. :D What does millipede poop look like?


A boring clump of rich black dirt. Very similar to earthworm.

Actually I keep their tank along those lines. Every couple of months I put in a layer of aspen shavings, or dead leaves and wood, and they break it down. The heat generated by the decomposition also keeps their tank cozy. No heater needed.

Canotila
12-13-2012, 02:01 AM
I have nothing to add except that this sounds awesome. And we used to play with the local millipedes as kids because when they got scared they'd make your hands smell like ice cream. They were probably Haraphe haydeniana.

ironmikezero
12-13-2012, 02:49 AM
This thread reminded me of staging centipede vs scorpion terrarium matches when we were finished building our Texas house. Both critters were prevalent on the construction site and seemingly moreso after the house was built. We'd find them everywhere. Once captured, they'd be incarcerated in a 40gal terrarium. We always intended to release them some distance away (a mile or so) but it never happened - the centipedes would make short work of the scorpions and proceed to eat everything but the poison sac segment of the scorpion tail. Nature doesn't always play nice.

The centipedes learned how to somehow escape the terrarium - despite our efforts at containment - so that experiment came to an end.

Mrs. de Winter
12-13-2012, 08:06 AM
And cyanide is nasty, nasty stuff if it's manufactured, but naturally occurring varieties are much lower on the toxicity scale.

I still wouldn't eat raw cassava though ;)