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Plants and Animals

We Finally Know Why Millipedes Torment Trains In Japan Every Eight Years

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The curious life cycle of America’s Cicadas sees these critics blossom from their millions of grounds every 13 or 17 years, once again temporarily filling the air with chatter before being muted. This was thought to be unique in terms of their long life cycle, but a new study published in the Royal Society Open Publishing Journal found that there is a similar austerity for life under other leaves like the creepy Cripple elsewhere in the world.

The train’s millipede, Parafontaria laminata armigera, disrupted the train for eight years, causing trouble for the train in Japan. The mechanism behind the strange cyclonic waterlogging was still unknown. For nearly half a century, researchers, including top author and government ecologist Keiko Niijima, have been studying the species, revealing the bizarre and protracted developmental stages of this disrupted arthropod.

Train millipedes lay their eggs in the ground and must pass seven instar stages before they can finally emerge from the soil as mature millipedes eight years after hatching. They take a year at each stage of the stage and every summer they explode with old threads and with new ones. To confirm the eight-year life cycle of train millipedes, researchers had to trace their entire life history from egg to adult. They found populations in two places and from 1972 to 2016 these sites were surveyed several times.

By soil samples at both sites and by recording changes in larval millipedes they were able to determine that millipedes underwent seven instar changes before reaching maturity. Once turned, they emerge from their molten pouches and become debris on the soil surface. This is when small trike becomes a problem for trains because they are grown in such numbers that it obstructs the rail tracks.

Some millipedes will travel up to 50 meters in search of breeding opportunities. After mating successfully, they will hunt on the ground again to hibernate during the worst of winter. Towards the end of spring, they move again for some more mating (what a year!)) By July, the females will lay a lot of eggs every month (from 400 to 1000) (along with the males). “We have shown the existence of a periodic millipede, a new addition to periodic organisms with longevity cycles: periodic cicadas, bamboo and some plants of the genus Strobilanthes,” the study authors wrote in their research paper.