Saturday, 7 September 2013

Slimy Suspects: How Millipedes Likely Caused a Train Wreck

In the event of a collision, there's usually someone to blame, like a driver who's texting or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. But in a recent train collision in Australia, the usual suspects were ruled out in favor of a less common culprit: millipedes.

Hundreds of small black Portuguese millipedes (Ommatoiulus moreletii) are the likely culprits in a train collision north of Perth, Australia, which injured six passengers. "Millipedes are one of the factors we are going to take into account," David Hynes, spokesperson for the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia, told Reuters.

"What happened in previous instances is trains which were traveling at speed have gone over an infestation, crushed them and made the tracks slimy," Hynes said. "The train loses traction and the train has slipped."

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