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2325 Views 2 Replies Last post: Oct 29, 2012 10:55 PM by Spark RSS
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Oct 29, 2012 10:17 PM

Is there a bioluminescent species of centipede/millipede in the UK?

Two days ago, we were walking along a sunken lane in North Devon in the dark, when my son noticed a damp leaf in the middle of the road glowing in the dark. When we picked it up there was a small centipede/millipede on it and we found that this was clearly the source of the bioluminescence. Has such a bioluminescent centipede/millipede previously been observed in the UK or could it have been infected with some terrestrial bioluminescent bacterium such as Xenorhabdus lumiescens. Can anyone help please?

  • The short answer is yes.


    Bioluminescence is known in geophilomorph centipedes but I'm not entirely sure of the circumstances that promote this. I have read that it is a fluid secreted when they are under attack, but if you give these centipedes a bit of GBH (don't call the RSPCA anyone as invertebrates are not covered by the law) you don't appear to be able to promote the response very reliably. So perhaps there is more to it than this - a bioluminescent bacteria perhaps.

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