Monday, 1 June 2015

This Summer, Learn to Spot Glowing Millipedes on the Forest Floor

Paul Marek, Virginia Tech | May 30, 2015 08:04am ET

Paul Marek is an assistant professor in the Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech. He contributed this article to Live Science's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights

There's something inherently magical, even surreal, about seeing hundreds of glowing millipedes scattered across the ground of a sequoia grove on a moonless night in Sequoia National Park. 

Every evening, these creatures — which remain hidden underground during the day — emerge and initiate a chemical reaction to produce a green-blue glow, a process called bioluminescence. The eerie night lights of these millipedes highlight nature's eccentricities, a fringe benefit as I research the millipede species known as Motyxia. 

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