|Mating Millipedes, Ushongo Beach, July 2011|
What is it? Well,a giant millipede of some sort - I'm not exactly sure which one, but quite possibly a variety of Epibolus pulchripes, the Giant Red-legged Millipede. If you know better, please do let me know! And what are they doing? Well, that's certianly mating! As you can see, the male starts off by climbing on the back of the female and giving her a good tickling (at least, that's what it looks like). . In fact, he's busy preparing to mate - it's not easy with all those legs and, what's more, he keeps his genetalia in interesting places. In fact, his 7th pair of legs (millipedes have two pairs of legs per body segment, except for the first 7 segments where there's only one) are modified into what we call gonopods - gono, relating to gonad, and pod for leg. But the genitals themselves are in the 3rd segment (some species of millipede have two penises, which seems excessive), so the first thing the male has to do is depost a little package of sperm (the spermatophore) onto his gonopods.
|Mating Millipedes, caught int he act.|